Improving Indoor Air Quality

In the spring of 2022, most businesses and schools were open and ready to return to normal. Of course, this new normal included changes to the way we think about safety in buildings. Improving indoor air quality remained a top concern for building owners and facilities managers. We looked at ways to enhance IAQ through inspections, cleaning, and monitoring as well as ways to fund these efforts using available tax credits. We also offered advice on how to reduce energy costs through HVAC maintenance.

Optimizing HVAC Performance to Improve Indoor Air Quality

As we discussed in April, IAQ is enhanced by optimized HVAC performance. Therefore, it stands to reason that a better indoor environment results from a well-maintained system. Optimizing the system’s performance is not cost-prohibitive. On the contrary, routine inspections and cleaning go a long way toward improving indoor air quality while reducing costs. As well, monitoring the indoor environment detects issues with IAQ before they develop into more serious problems.

The ASHRAE Standard 62.1, which specifies the minimum ventilation requirements for commercial and institutional buildings, is something we advised building managers to review. Keeping with this standard improves IAQ. As a result of cleaning indoor air, cognitive functioning improves. This helps children in school perform better on tests. Cleaner indoor air also reduces worker absenteeism while reducing energy costs. WTI – Pure Air Control helps businesses improve IAQ with our PURE-Steam cleaning and PURE-Duct cleaning methods as well as our HVAC New Life Restoration process.

Meeting the Clean Air Challenge

As the year progressed and businesses set about improving indoor air quality, we reminded readers about the National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. This plan includes a challenge to building owners to improve IAQ. The goal of the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge is to reduce the spread of viruses indoors. Along with the COVID preparedness plan, the challenge asked that facilities managers focus on four key actions. For example, the creation of an action plan that includes inspection and repairs improves IAQ. Optimizing ventilation also allows more fresh outdoor air into buildings. Improving air filtration using portable air cleaning technology is another important step. Lastly, we stressed the importance of encouraging all building occupants to stay engaged and report their IAQ concerns to management.

Tax Credits for Improving Indoor Air Quality

As summer began we reminded readers of the benefits of improving IAQ with funds gained from the Airborne Act legislation. Using the IAQ tax credits proposed in the Airborne Act allows building owners to improve their HVAC systems. This starts with an inspection and assessment of the system’s performance. Cleaning, disinfecting, and restoration improve, not just efficiency, but indoor air quality as well. Additionally, IAQ monitoring ensures that indoor conditions remain stable. In addition to improved indoor air quality comes the added benefit of reduced energy costs and fewer missed days of work for employers.

HVAC Asset Planning to Improve IAQ

In June we suggested the creation of an HVAC asset plan for improving indoor air quality. We laid out the three parts of the plan which included visual inspections, regular cleaning, and restoration. We recommended scheduling HVAC inspections quarterly and semiannually as well as annually. The quarterly inspection checks dehumidification and humidification devices for microbial growth while the semiannual check covers ventilation and IAQ-related control systems and devices, the evaporator coil, and outdoor air intake louvers as well as natural ventilation openings. Annual checks cover fan blade housing, air filter fit, damper operation as well as drain pans, drain lines, and coils. We also discussed the benefits of restoration over the replacement of system parts. 

Cost is a significant factor because replacing the system will only save you 20 percent. However, restoration increases the equipment’s lifespan, which gradually reduces operating expenses as a whole. For instance, upgrading the Q-PACTM Fan Array boosts the AHU’s efficiency, which reduces energy expenses and eliminates the need for motor and belt maintenance. Additionally, there is the advantage of increased energy efficiency.

Improve IAQ In Buildings Today

We covered a lot of ground this year. We also provided advice on improving indoor air quality as the COVID pandemic continues to teach us lessons on virus transmission. The information we learned about the role ventilation systems have in this spread is invaluable. We hope you continue to visit this forum for more information on improving IAQ. To learn more, contact Pure Air Control Services at 1-800-422-7873 or email us here.