Improving office building indoor air quality (IAQ) reduces sick leave by 39% and costs by 44%, according to an Australian case study. Identifying indoor air contaminants can be difficult, as they range from airborne bacteria, fungi and dust to building materials and office equipment. Outdoor sources such as temperature, lighting, smoke and humidity also affect IAQ. There are a variety of steps businesses can take to improve IAQ and reduce employee sick leave.
- Routine Maintenance: Ensuring your building is in ordinance with current American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standards for ventilation and thermal environmental conditions for human occupancy can prevent common IAQ complaints that result in employee sick leave. Good housekeeping by occupants and proper sanitation by janitorial staff reduces the amount of airborne contaminants from filtering through air ducts.
- Identify IAQ Complaints: The second step in improving commercial IAQ is to recognize IAQ complaints. Common IAQ complaints are related to indoor odor, temperature and humidity, which are easy to identify. If you walk into an office building, your body reacts to the temperature. Flu or cold-like symptoms and allergic reactions are also common IAQ complaints but occupants often attribute these symptoms to outside sources, making poor IAQ difficult to isolate. Routine maintenance and identifying these common complaints can prevent occupants from becoming sick and taking days off.
- Control Indoor Air Contaminants: There for three sub-steps to controlling indoor air contaminants and they are all equally as important.
- Source Management: Source management is the removal, substitution and enclosure of sources. For example, to reduce tobacco smoke from entering the ventilation system, place designated smoking areas away from entrances and HVAC systems.
- Engineering Controls: Engineering controls relate to local exhausts, general dilution ventilation and air cleaning. Ensuring your HVAC system is working properly by controlling appropriate temperatures and the filters are trapping dust and other partials from recirculation in the air.
- Administrative Controls: Administrative controls are ensuring good housekeeping practices and occupant/employee work schedules. For example, following building capacity protocol so there is not too many occupants in the building at any time.
- Seek Professional Assistance: The final step in improving IAQ is seeking professional assistance from IAQ experts. Some IAQ factors, such as good housekeeping and capacity guidelines, can be easy to control while routine maintenance and other IAQ problems require professional assistance. It is extremely important to ensure your HVAC system and air ducts are routinely inspected and cleaned. This prevents more complex issues which can result in increased employee sick leave and associated costs.
While improving IAQ can be a complex process, partnering with a knowledgeable and trust-worthy company like Carolina Filters brings ease process. Carolina Filters has decades of experience with a variety of businesses and uses state-of-the-art technology and cleaning processes to improve your building’s IAQ. Contact Carolina Filters today to find out how you can improve your company’s IAQ and employee’s health.