August 2, 2022
Across the country, building owners, facility managers, and engineers are experimenting with how to bring tenants back into commercial workspaces. Between the White House’s Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, employees leery of a return to the office (72% of office workers worldwide worry about air quality in their buildings) and ongoing variants – indoor air quality is in the spotlight.
Balancing the need to attract wary employees back into the workspace with energy conservation can be a challenge.
Most Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors and many of them spend that time in an office environment. Studies conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and others show that indoor environments sometimes can have levels of pollutants that are higher than levels found outside.
None of this is new.
What is new is the renewed call to action to governments, building owners and operators, schools, and universities to prioritize cleaning up the air that people breathe.
Awair came together with a consortium of leading indoor air quality (IAQ) organizations to give you an actionable roadmap to improving indoor air quality and meeting building decarbonization and climate resiliency goals.
The four-step Clean First framework shows how it is possible to achieve Sustainable IAQ – better indoor air quality more energy efficiently with improved resilience to outside air pollutants. The paper also offers recommendations for how to implement the Clean First framework.
Step 1: Define Your IAQ Goals
Identify which air factors are most important to you. Start with leading indicators that are representative of big classes of problems and move from there. Read a detailed discussion of common IAQ metrics and their advantages and disadvantages.
Step 2: Clean Indoor Air
Maximize the amount of cost-effective air cleaning for recirculated air. Cost-effectiveness should be evaluated based on the total lifecycle cost to achieve your IAQ targets. In most climates, cleaning indoor air will be more energy efficient and cost effective than conditioning large volumes of outside air.
Step 3: Optimize Ventilation
Once you have maximized the amount of cost-effective air cleaning for recirculated air, determine how much outside air is needed in addition to the cleaned indoor air to comply with building codes and achieve your IAQ targets. This may include deploying energy recovery systems with high sensible and latent recovery to make the conditioning of outside air as efficient as possible.
Step 4: Validate, Monitor & Control IAQ
The final step is to continuously monitor your indoor air quality. What do you do with that data? Start the virtuous cycle: measure, establish a baseline, improve, and verify.
Ready for Sustainable IAQ? Download the whitepaper.
In the post-pandemic office, the amenity employees are looking for is clean air. While 9 out 10 office workers want to be kept informed of their buildings air quality, a mere 15% get regular updates.
A device like Awair Omni alerts you to the presence PM2.5 (fine dust), VOCs (volatile organic compounds), CO2, temperature, humidity, and more. Share the Indoor Air Quality score of your space with others using Lobby Mode and compare data over time with the Awair Dashboard.
To start monitoring the air quality in your business, contact our Sales Team today. They would love to discuss our key learnings and best practices with you and see how we can help you.
Evidence suggests that COVID-19 lockdowns have significantly improved outdoor air quality. In the northeastern U.S., NASA registered a 30% drop in air pollution. UK researchers believe cleaner air has saved thousands of lives. In China, meanwhile, a recent study even suggests that lockdown “has saved more lives through improved air quality than were lost to COVID-19.”
Successful companies understand the importance of employee wellbeing--those that choose to invest in wellness plans have seen improvements in satisfaction, teamwork, productivity, and their bottom line.