#IAQ Articles

What Affects Indoor Air Quality in Commercial Buildings

When it comes to indoor air quality in schools, hospitals, government offices, private businesses and other commercial buildings, the standards are different from those of residential homes. Commercial buildings are generally much larger and may house a great number of people at one time. This means that the indoor air quality may be affected by many different factors.

It is believed that over the past few decades the number of airborne pollutants inside commercial structures has increased considerably due to a number of factors;

  • HVAC and IAQTightly sealed buildings
  • Reduced ventilation
  • Presence of synthetic building materials
  • More time spent indoors
  • Building deterioration
  • Improper design or maintenance

In essence, with more people staying inside buildings that have reduced ventilation, the chances of being exposed to airborne pollutants has increased significantly over time. However, the basic sources of indoor air pollutants have remained relatively the same.

Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

There are a number of common sources of pollutants that may affect the health of those inside, particularly if they spend several hours per day within the confines of the building. These particles include, but are not limited to the following;

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Soot
  • Fibers
  • Mists
  • Aerosols
  • Mold
  • Gases and more

Quite often, the pollutants that affect the indoor air quality come from the HVAC or air conditioning system which is usually the vents. Changes in temperature and humidity may result in the growth of fungus, mold or other substances that find a haven in air vents which are then circulated throughout the building itself. Furthermore, spotting the sources of the pollution can be difficult, especially in vents that do not get regularly inspected or carpets that are not fully cleaned.

This means that the first signs of an indoor air pollution problem will come from the symptoms shown by those who work inside.

The Symptoms of Poor Indoor Air Quality

There are a number of symptoms that business owners and organizational managers will need to keep an eye out for in order to spot potential issues with the air quality.

  • Increase in the number of health issues, particularly those of a respiratory nature
  • Greater absenteeism
  • Loss of productivity
  • Unusual deterioration of equipment and furnishing
  • Increasing behavior issues and more

Generally speaking, increases in the number of health issues that include coughing, sneezing and eye irritations are a sign that something might be negatively affecting the air quality.

How to Address Indoor Air Issues

There are a number of ways that the quality of air indoors can be addressed to reduce the amount of pollutants.

Identifying the source of the pollution and getting rid of it is the most important step. Proper ventilation will help circulate and push out many of the air pollutants and keep them from concentrating in one place. Exhaust systems will force the pollutants out and proper exposure controls will help maintain the overall indoor air quality to acceptable levels.

Taking the proper steps will ensure that the people inside a commercial building will not be exposed to indoor air pollution thanks to regular inspection, maintenance and initiating the proper action.

 

 

 

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