To successfully operate a high-performance building today in a high-performance fashion it requires ever-increasing expertise and education.
Tampa, FL – A case in point: Recently 2 patients died as a result of Legionnaires disease allegedly acquired at a Indiana University hospital. The hospital said that tests done on its water system after the second patient was diagnosed revealed the presence of the bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Legionnaires’ disease is caused by Legionella bacteria, usually found in water. They are environmental source bacteria which commonly resides around warm water places such as hot tubs, hot water tanks, HVAC systems, cooling towers and decorative fountains.
The key to infection or disease control in any building e.g. healthcare, commercial building, educational, hospitality, etc…is proper and periodical monitoring of the facility or prevention thus keeping the microbial propagules e.g. bacteria, fungi, and viruses, etc.. to a minimum.
Why are high-performance buildings such as a modern healthcare facility failing its patients? Most organizations deal with the issue reactively in treating the symptom and not the cause (which is how western medicine has worked for ages). In fact, the answer lies in proactively treating the cause thus avoiding the potential symptom. Healthcare facilities have been making efforts to reduce the presence of hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA, Clostridium difficile, and diseases such as Legionnaire’s, which collectively kill tens of thousands of people nationwide each year. Unfortunately, not all outcomes are favorable and best practices are not always followed.
Performance of a building depends on its structured integrity, preventive maintenance, as well as periodical monitoring of the environmental conditions essential for its functionality. The health and hygiene of such high-performance buildings are affected by contaminants of various natures. Microbial contaminants, such as bacteria, fungi, etc., are one such entity which may influence health and hygiene in and around a building. It is essential to have the knowledge on the prevailing contaminants in order to manage the building and optimize the performance from health and hygiene point of view.
Developing baseline conditions with routine monitoring is the first step towards insuring these high-performance buildings are safe. A recent hike in Legionnaires’ disease, along with other infections such as MRSA, etc., is happening partially due to deferred or neglected maintenance of buildings including the hygiene condition of the HVAC systems, building envelope breaches, housekeeping efforts, general building maintenance, etc…. in conjunction with a lack of awareness and technical know-how. Early incorporation of preventive and maintenance steps offers the most savings besides an optimal performance of buildings.
Over the years, a number of agencies have put forward standards for maintaining high-performance buildings. Some of the important agencies with such standards include the United States Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Program and Australia’s GreenStar Program, work by awarding “points” for green building practices. Code-based programs, such as the ASHRA 189.1 standard and the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), establish minimum requirements for efficiency and best management practices.
The chances of high-performance buildings failing are much greater and significant without considering the optimization of health, energy, and comfort of a building along with effective best O&M practices.
For more information on how to keep high-performance building at optimum condition or the development of a proactive maintenance program and energy savings programs such as PURE-Steam Coil Cleaning, HVAC system cleaning, PURE-Decon room sanitization, topical environmental cleaning contact the professionals at Pure Air Control Services at 1-800-422-7873.
About Pure Air Control Services:
Founded in 1984 by Alan Wozniak, President/CEO in what began as a small mechanical contracting business has grown into an award winning, industry leading indoor air quality (IAQ) service company serving many fortune 500 corporations, school boards, county, city, state and federal governments and consumers across the US. The firm has serviced over 600 million square feet of indoor environments in over 10,000 facilities.
Pure Air’s nationally performed services include: Building Sciences Evaluation; Building Health Check; an Environmental Microbiology Laboratory; Environmental Project Management; and Duct Cleaning & Mold Remediation Services, among other indoor environmental services.
The company’s expanding client roster includes the General Services Administration (GSA); Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Allstate Insurance; Carrier Air Conditioning; Naval Air Warfare Center, Orlando; and Naval Air Station – King’s Bay, Georgia, and many other Fortune 500 companies, school boards, and city, state, and county governments, making Pure Air a reliable industry leader.