Healthy buildings in the post-COVID-19 world are an important component to economic recovery. It’s important that businesses get back up and running quickly and adjust to what will be a new normal. Maintaining a healthy indoor environment is critical to this. If in the past, budgetary concerns limited the resources devoted to health, wellness, and sustainability concerns. But this is no longer an option. Building owners and managers cannot afford to get this wrong. For the economy to rebuild and thrive, building occupants must feel safe. The good news is, there are several ways to do this.
Health-Focused Building Reopening
Implementing a reopening strategy that is focused on the health of building occupants is critical. Not just for the success of the business, but for the economy as a whole. After buildings have sat partially or fully unoccupied for several months, there are issues of indoor air quality that must get addressed to ensure safety. Some of these issues include:
- Changes in humidity levels
- Spread of waterborne pathogens
- Infected cooling towers
- Infected interior occupied spaces
Reopening is also an opportunity for facilities managers to address maintenance issues and energy costs, as well as the redesign of interior spaces to limit close contact between staff and visitors. Inspections and cleanings need to be increased with attention kept on the health of buildings. This is critical to getting our country on the road to economic recovery.
Why Healthy Buildings Matter
Healthy buildings matter because they keep building occupants healthy. Indoor air quality is an important gauge in the health of buildings and for preventing what is known as Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). A healthy staff has a higher morale than those ill with SBS symptoms such as coughing, headaches, and breathing difficulties. Even more serious is the spread of waterborne pathogens like the Legionella bacteria and airborne viruses like the one that causes COVID-19.
Unhealthy, unhappy employees leads to absenteeism and a loss of productivity. In times of a pandemic, these dangers are heightened. Fear plays into this as well. Employees who are fearful for their health are not invested in their work. It is important for both staff and visitors to feel safe and be safe. This is important for the economic health of businesses and the US economy as a whole.
The Key to a Healthy Economy
While building and facilities managers know first hand the difficulty of getting the right funding for health, wellness, and sustainability, this is not easily accomplished. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the risk in this type of short-term thinking. Building health is no longer something to be worked into practice only if budgets allow for it. It’s a crucial part of keeping a business healthy. Workers, staff, management, and visitors to facilities all need to maintain their health to contribute to the nation’s economic recovery. Promoting and maintaining healthy buildings are the key to this.
There are many ways Pure Air Controls is taking on the issue of building health. For one, as long-standing members of the U.S. Green Building Council, we follow their guidance in support of economic recovery. The motto of their new initiative is “Healthy people in healthy places means a healthy economy”.
The USGBC is making trust in building health a priority as the economy opens up. Many strategies will be implemented to make this possible including an upgrade to LEED 4.1 and the launching of new LEED Pilot credits that will focus on:
- Social distancing
- Air quality
- Infection control
The USGBC is also issuing guidance on the best practices for project teams to reopen their buildings safely as they continue to work towards the future of regenerative, healthy buildings.
How We Are Creating Healthy Buildings
For our part Pure Air Controls has a number or environmental upgrades to validate buildings as safe for occupancy. We recently announced that our work with the Generation Church in Largo, Florida resulted in their recognition as a “Certified PURE-Air Indoor Environment”. This makes them the first in the country to receive this validation. It gives peace of mind to members, visitors, and staff who can trust they are safe whenever they are in the building.
There are several environmental upgrades used to achieve healthy building status. These include services such as the HVAC New Life Restoration using PURE-Steam Coil Cleaning to effectively disinfect and restore air handling units. PURE-Duct hygienic cleaning and the placement of centrally located HEPA filtered air purifiers also addresses IAQ issues by removing and filtering particulates. PURE-Decon is a multi-level building disinfection process utilizing an electrostatic spray of disinfectants that is far more effective that a standard custodial wipe down. EDLab in conjunction with Building Sciences conducts coronavirus environmental surface testing with the RT-qPCR method to identify the presence of this harmful pathogen. Finally, IAQ Guard from our Building Sciences division provides 24/7 IAQ monitoring through the placement of remote sensors that continuously transmits data to a cloud based dashboard. This program offers actionable, real-time, data of entire buildings to maintain optimal IAQ conditions at all times.
For more information on how Pure Air Controls transforms buildings into a “Certified PURE-Air Indoor Environment” call 727-572-4550 today!