Healthier Air. Healthier Buildings

Due to increasing awareness around healthier air together with corporate health and wellness initiative, the building owners, property managers, and most importantly tenants are expected to ask for assurance on a healthy work environment that will force technological changes in the building infrastructure and certification norms.

On average, we spend about 90 percent of our time indoors, where pollutant levels are often higher than those of outside., Indoor air quality (IAQ) is one of many factors that determine building functionality and economics. A building with good IAQ is more desirable place to work, learn and conduct business as it affects building occupants and their ability to conduct their activities and creates positive or negative impressions on them. IAQ directly affects occupant health, comfort and productivity. Serious health impacts resulting from poor IAQ include - Legionnaires’ disease, lung cancer from radon exposure, and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

More widespread health impacts include increased allergy and asthma from exposure to indoor pollutants, molds and other infectious diseases that are transmitted through the air, and “sick building syndrome” symptoms due to elevated indoor pollutant levels as well as other indoor environmental conditions. These more widespread impacts have the potential to affect large number of building occupants and are associated with significant costs due to health-care expenses, sick leave, and lost productivity.

The Thought leaders and policy makers must focus on working towards certifications of Healthy buildings like a purchaser of a gadget would like to have some sort of assurance on safety certifications that a product has been performed to against battery explosion, shock, fire hazard etc. Occupants desiring a Healthy Building certification to ensure protection against indoor air pollution follows the same line of thinking. A building owner must ensure that the quality of air inside the building is pollution free and building is certified to be a healthy building.

A Holistic Approach to IAQ
Healtheir Air is an essential aspect of a Healthier, smarter and efficient building that brings health, happiness, wellness and productivity to the users. When it comes to a Healthier building , a Holistic approach to IAQ that includes services as well as methods needs to be adopted, right from ventilation concerns to cleaning and disinfecting. Instead of a simple solution, a multi-pronged approach is needed to improve the health of the buildings. This will result in a building not only with a lower risk of the spread of Covid-19, but also allergens, gasses, VOCs, fungus and bacteria.

Here are four crucial dimensions of a Healthy Building:

Without a proper ventilation system, the air will be trapped indoors, causing the pollutants to remain and multiply there themselves. Thus, ventilation is crucial to displace and dilute these pollutants. Office space requires a carefully designed Ventilation System to ensure Healthier Air. Photocopy machines, printed materials, carpeting, stationery supplies, cleaning supplies, airborne buildup chemicals can only be removed in a well-ventilated setup. Though the office spaces are designed airtight to ensure better Energy efficiency and opening windows aren’t always practical, a balanced ventilation system is required to draw out stale Air and bring in fresh Air from every part of an organization.

2.Safety and security
In the bigger picture, the focus must be on de-densifying your buildings by maintaining Social distancing. This may be done either through different shift timings or through the expansion of space. Considering an hour of deep cleaning in between the shifts will also prosper the Healthier Buildings approach.

Many of us have been focusing on touchless sinks, cleaner washrooms, and sanitization rules but might not have suspected how primary it is to have good humidity. The right temperature and the right amount of humidity are of great concern while talking about health. Even the dust, carpets, and furniture are having a significant impact on an employee's health.
Dryness in Air will lead to respiratory issues and cause skin irritation, thereby lowering employee productivity. Thus, it is crucial to maintain an apt amount of humidity indoors.

The levels of pollutants indoors maybe 4 to 5 times higher than the outdoor levels. The air filter systems help in eliminating those pollutants and improve air quality, thereby enhancing your health.

By promoting healthier air, you are taking steps forward to take care of yourself, your people, and the planet as a whole! Following this holistic approach, we are on the path to making our future generations free from a plethora of infections which should be a concern of not just you and me but for all of us.