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Indoor Air Quality: What is it and why does it matter

HVAC
Indoor Air Quality: What is it and why does it matter

Indoor Air Quality: What is it and why does it matter

According to the EPA, “Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants.”

As our team is preparing for the AHR Expo, I’ve been reading their 2024 Industry Trend Report that they just released. While reading about what ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) had to say, they mentioned that a notable change in the industry is the growing emphasis on IAQ and recognizing the critical link between HVACR systems and human health.

This piqued my interest and was followed by a deep-dive which I now get to share with all of you, saving you from having to do the heavy Google research lifting (your welcome!). In a study done by Johnson Controls, they suggest that having a healthier IAQ workspace can generate a return on investment in the range of $750 to $800 per employee per year in the United States. So outside of contributing to keeping people healthy via the air they are breathing, it also can impact your bottom line.

While I know this topic might not be the most exciting one, as someone who in the last year was dealing with a mold issue in my home, I know just how important to your health it can be to breathe in clean, safe air. Especially, when it comes to somewhere you spend significant time. Below, is a list of some of the many health reasons why it’s so important to have good IAQ and be working with professionals that understand this importance, as well.

  • Respiratory Health – Airborne pollutants like dust, mold, and pet dander can trigger or exacerbate conditions such as asthma, allergies, and respiratory infections. Improved IAQ can lead to a decrease in these problems.
  • Cardiovascular Health – Some indoor air pollutants such as fine particulate matter, have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Better IAQ can help reduce exposure to such pollutants and lower the risk of heart problems.
  • Cognitive Function – Poor air quality with higher levels of pollutants can impair cognitive functions such as concentration and decision-making. Good IAQ has been associated with improved cognitive performance and increased productivity and better learning outcomes.
  • Sleep – Breathing clean air while sleeping is essential for good health. Pollutants like dust and allergens, can contribute to sleep disturbances. Improved IAQ can enhance the overall quality of sleep, which we all know is vital to productivity and general well-being.
  • Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) – this is a condition where building occupants experience acute health symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and respiratory issues that are linked to time spent in a building. Good IAQ can mitigate these symptoms and can contribute to preventing these health issues.
  • Mental Health – Poor IAQ, with higher levels of pollutants, can contribute to stress and anxiety. Clean air has been associated with better mental health outcomes and may have a positive impact on mental well-being.

To achieve improved indoor air quality, strategies include proper ventilation, air filtration, control of indoor pollutants, and regular maintenance of HVAC systems. Let’s make this a resolution to make an impact on the quality of the air that either ourselves or others are breathing indoors!

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