How Clean is Clean Air?
The science is clear. Poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) harms, while improved IAQ brings a host of benefits to both individual and community health. ASHRAE sums it up nicely in their “Position Document On Indoor Air Quality:"
“IAQ impacts people’s health, comfort, well-being, learning outcomes and work performance. Improved IAQ brings substantial health and economic benefits from a broad public health perspective, as well as to individual building owners and occupants.”
ASHRAE goes on to list three widely accepted approaches to improving IAQ in buildings:
- Source control of pollutants
- Air Cleaning
These are great strategies to ensure safe and healthy indoor spaces, but it’s impossible to determine which strategies are right for you and whether or not they’re working if you don’t continuously monitor your air and measure its quality.
Controlling the source of pollutants sounds like a great idea, but you can’t control something you’re not measuring. Finding which source to control is a guessing game until you pinpoint the problem.
Ventilation seems easy in the sense that we simply bring in more clean air. As the old adage tells us, the solution to pollution is dilution. But how do you know whether you actually need increased ventilation? Does your current HVAC system have the ability to increase ventilation? If so, how much? Is that enough to solve the problem? How do you know? Just as importantly: Is this strategy a sustainable solution when you factor in the increased energy spend?
It’s also possible that, given your building’s infrastructure, the required amount of dilution simply isn’t feasible, or proves to be too expensive.
Many air cleaning products were developed to reduce the amount of fresh air introduced to the space, potentially resulting in a cleaner indoor environment without the increased energy spend. They have been widely adopted over the past couple of years to help mitigate SARS-CoV-2. Does your building need an air cleaning product, or would you like to install this type of technology proactively? Either way, the real question remains: How do you know whether you can benefit from an air cleaning technology, and how do you know if it’s working?
What source control, ventilation, and air cleaning have in common is the need for continuous IAQ monitoring. ASHRAE provides guidelines for determining acceptable levels, but without a continuous IAQ monitoring solution, it’s impossible for building managers to develop baseline numbers or identify problem areas, much less address root causes.
You can’t control what you don’t measure. The fact is, if you’re not measuring IAQ parameters against explicit targets, you simply can’t know whether your IAQ strategies are working, or if they’re working efficiently.
AntrumX allows you to KNOW YOUR AIR. Start measuring to control and ensure your building’s Indoor Air Quality today.