As the year progressed, we continued to cover many IAQ-related topics. We stressed the importance of testing and monitoring in the ongoing fight against the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We discussed the concept of self-healing buildings, which includes several building remediation methods and technologies. Over the summer we addressed the six pillars of creating healthy buildings and looked at a Harvard study on IAQ and cognitive performance.
Creating Healthy Buildings
As we headed into the summer months this year, the Delta variant of the coronavirus became dominant. Before this, businesses started reopening with many workers returning to buildings. However, many also decided that working from home was a safer option. Not everyone had a choice and a surprising number of workers stated they would prefer to leave their jobs entirely if working from home was not an option for them. In fact, in a post published in July, we cited a 2021 study, conducted by the Robert Half staffing agency, in which 34 percent of the workers polled stated they would look for employment elsewhere if the work-at-home option was not available to them.
Due to this concern, we stressed the importance of creating healthy buildings and suggested the services provided by our Building Science Division as a way to address workers’ concerns. Improving IAQ is the goal and addressing issues of poor ventilation is a way to get there. In some cases, this requires updating or replacing aging equipment. Our building assessment, along with our forensic investigations, finds the weaknesses in a system. After the evaluation of HVAC zones, remediation begins which includes services such as HVAC New Life hygienic restoration, PURE Steam, PURE Duct, and PURE Decon. The use of air purifiers is another effective way to improve IAQ.
Can a Building Heal Itself?
In July we looked at the concept of a self-healing building. As Dr. Rajiv Sahay, FIAS, CIAQP, director of Pure Air Control’s Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory informed us, self-healing creates healthy buildings. As a result, the health of building occupants also increases. When we were discussing this concept, vaccination rates were rising throughout the U.S. yet we were cautious about the emergence of new COVID variants. Delta, and now Omicron, did in fact emerge, so addressing aerosol transmission is as important as ever. However, proper ventilation creates a self-healing building. We also explained how our Healthy Building Program diagnoses and treats IAQ issues. This is accomplished with an HVAC Hygiene Assessment and baseline environmental testing. Treatment also includes a combined approach using PURE-Steam, PURE-Duct, HVAC New Life, and PURE-Deco. As well, air cleaning technologies such as bipolar ionization, HEPA filters, and UV lights prove effective in creating healthy buildings.
Healthy buildings need healthy HVAC systems as we discussed in August. Toward this goal, Pure Air Control advocates for the Six Pillars of Building Health which includes an IAQ Baseline Evaluation, cleaning and restoring of the HVAC system, reducing particles in the supply and return ductwork, neutralizing pathogens, purifying air, and monitoring environmental conditions.
Healthy Buildings and Cognitive Performance
In late summer, we looked at a study on IAQ and cognitive performance. The COGfx Study 3: Global Buildings study, conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Global Health, researched the ways IAQ affects cognitive performance. The findings were not surprising to those of us in the IAQ business. Occupants in green buildings showed 61 percent higher cognitive scores than those in conventional buildings. Participants scored 100 percent higher in buildings using enhanced green technologies. Improving the air exchange rate alone increases cognitive functioning. The benefits of creating healthy buildings include higher worker morale and increased productivity.
Once again, our Healthy Building Program contributes to the increase in cognitive functioning. We neutralize pathogens using EPA-registered Disinfectants for Emerging Pathogens (DEP). The EnviroSmart™ detection technology we place throughout buildings removes allergens and other harmful particulates. The IAQ Guard system monitors indoor conditions 24/7 with a remote team ready to respond to changes that could impact an otherwise healthy building.
Create A Healthy Building Today
Here at the end of 2021, the Omicron variant continues its fast spread across the country. This highlights the need to address IAQ issues to create healthy buildings for workers and building visitors. This is a concern for restaurants, cafes, office buildings, health clinics, spas, and schools too. Pure Air Control Services helps business owners and facilities managers meet these IAQ challenges. To find out more, call us today at 1-800-422-7873 or email us here.