As an owner of a business that has employees, there are numerous things to consider that may affect their comfort and efficiency while at work. In addition to compensation, benefits, and perks such as catered lunches or fitness classes, business owners should also consider the environment provided for employees. The indoor air quality of a building can have a direct effect on the productivity of workers. In turn, a building’s commercial HVAC system (and how well it is maintained) has a direct effect on the indoor environment.
How Can Air Quality Affect Worker Productivity?
There are a surprising number of factors that can affect air quality. Some of these may include:
- Odors caused by chemicals or mold
- Air velocity – either too much or not enough circulation
- Temperature – too cold or too hot
- Noise from a vent or blower fan
Each of these can have an effect on worker productivity by causing them to become distracted and lose focus on the task at hand. Additionally, poor indoor air quality can lead to things such as allergy flare-ups or other instances of less-than-perfect occupational health. Good indoor quality, however, can have positive effects such as decreasing employee absenteeism due to illness and increasing employee well-being and productivity.
What Factors Contribute to Good Indoor Air Quality?
As specifically related to commercial HVAC system design, the following things can have an effect on the indoor air quality of an office:
- Ventilation System Design: A well-designed commercial HVAC system, when operating, should be virtually unnoticeable. It should efficiently circulate clean, fresh air around an office.
- Outside Air Supply: An important function of an HVAC system is to continually mix in outside air to keep the environment fresh.
- Space Planning: The newest, most advanced commercial HVAC system can be rendered inefficient if things such as shelving, furniture, or high modular walls block the flow of air.
- Equipment Maintenance: Perhaps the most important way to ensure high-quality indoor air is to regularly have the HVAC system maintained. A professional HVAC service company can usually help with this. Service performed can include the inspection and replacement of filters or the replacement of any old or worn-out parts.
- Controlling Other Pollutant Pathways: In some cases, commercial offices may have areas where certain odors may originate – such as a warehouse area. A professionally designed HVAC system can usually include a pressure differential that keeps indoor air flowing to these areas, vs. from