December 6, 2022

The rising importance of air purification

Air purification. The global covid-19 pandemic has put a focus on internal air quality. With over 90% of our time spent indoors, its time we addressed the rising need for good quality air within our buildings.

Indoor spaces have gone from being places where we gather to work or socialise to areas of potential danger. Instead of looking forward to entering these places, we now view them with suspicion or question what is being done to prevent virus activity, understandably concerned about our exposure to a life-threatening virus.

What is indoor air pollution?

  • Pollutants generated inside a building from building materials, furniture and furnishings, or by activities such as cooking, heating, smoking and use of paints, varnishes, cleaning products, air fresheners, etc.
  • Pollutants generated outside a building (by industrial processes, traffic emissions etc.) that migrate indoors through windows or other means of ventilation.
  • Natural radon gas that enters buildings from the ground

Why is air quality important?

The quality of air that we breathe in has long been a signified of our societies’ impact on both human and environmental health.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, indoor and outdoor air pollution is the most urgent environmental health crisis in the world. Air pollution in some of the worst affected cities has been likened in effect to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Indoors, the pandemic has brought it to our attention that we ventilate this air into our workspaces, and that our increase in home boiler emissions with working remotely over winter has leaked out and contributed to the former.

But lower air quality affects more than just the environment and our health, because when the air quality is poor within a facility it leads to an increase of premature deaths, sickness, absence and lower productivity at work. When absenteeism increases and productivity reduces, and productivity reduces, an organisation can quickly find itself in a circular spin with costs and overheads increasing and a noticeable drop in service and revenue.

Our facilities are the key areas which our teams work every day to keep the cogs turning and the business growing – without the people keeping the cogs turning, our organisations would take a sharp downturn and end up non existent within the market and that is something that nobody wants.

It is known that COVID-19 is highly infectious and that there is an increased risk of transmission through the air especially in enclosed spaces. The smaller droplets from an infected person can travel further inside, thus increasing the risk of infecting others. To minimise that risk and that of transmission, correct ventilation becomes crucial.

Therefore, increasing flow rates of fresh outside air and avoiding re-circulation and transfer of air from one room to another are recommended for COVID-safe environments.

10 ways every facility can improve indoor air quality

1. Let Natural Air In

Open doors and windows when temperature and humidity levels permit.
The open airand natural sunlight and temperature keeps air fresh and rotating.

2. Use Air Purifiers

Having commercial-grade equipment in your disposition, such as air scrubbers, dehumidifiers, and air purifiers are a great way to keep your IAQ at good levels and prevent the need to hire professionals.
It is best to look for purifiers that deliver a Merv-19 class of air which is a universal measurement on how effective a filter is at stopping contaminants. For example the i-air pro –

3. Get Indoor Plants

Many plants are known as nature’s air purifiers because they can absorb toxins from the air and produce more oxygen. They also make your facility look more lively and aesthetically pleasing.

4. Keep Your Office/Facility Clean

Regularly vacuum, dust, sanitise, clear away clutter and promptly dispose of all garbage as it accumulates. Often, it’s easiest to schedule regular professional cleanings to ensure this crucial component of indoor air quality doesn’t get overlooked. 
Keeping clean ensures less pollutants have a chance to mix with the air and make your employees sick.

5. Have Your Air Quality Tested

Experts in air quality have the right tools and know how to measure air quality in offices, from air flow to humidity levels, ventilation, odours, leaks, standing water, water damage, mold growth and more.
After a thorough inspection, you’ll know exactly what needs to be fixed to improve office air quality moving forward.

6. Clean & Sanitise Your HVAC Air Ducts Regularly

Your HVAC Air Ducts circulate cold and hot air throughout your office. Over time dust, debris, mold, bacteria, and even dead insects and rodents accumulate inside Air Ducts. These contaminants spread throughout your office/facility along with the air, and cause air borne infections and also spread bad odor. 

7. Check Building Materials And Furnishings

Insulation, carpeting, cabinetry or furniture made of pressed wood and paint all release small amounts of chemicals into the air for a surprisingly long amount of time. This is a secret pollutant and can cause much damage.
Use the least of such materials to furnish your office space. Throw out old junk if not needed. Keep the office area clean & sanitised.

8. Maintain A Healthy Level Of Humidity

Humidity between 30 and 50 percent helps keep dust mites, mold and other allergens under control. Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners to control the humidity level in your office.

9. Restrict Smoking In The Facility

Cigarette smoke contains fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and thousands of other chemicals. Studies have shown that exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke may result in inner ear infections, asthma and lung cancer in nonsmokers. 
However, the increased use of electronic cigarettes indoors may contribute new sources of indoor air contaminants including nicotine, as well as flavor and fragrance additives.

10. Clean Spills Immediately

Excess moisture or residual dampness supports the growth of mildew and mold, which can cause severe health risks. It’s more expensive to remediate mold damage than it is to prevent it, so it’s in your best interest to reduce the risk of mold growth by cleaning up spills or leaks as soon as you see them.

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Indoor air quality should be one of the most important concerns in your workplace as it directly affects the overall health and wellbeing of your staff and employees. Poor IAQ can increase the risk of many health problems, from respiratory illnesses to infections. It can even compromise your mental health.

Achieve better air quality in your facility

The rising importance of air purification