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5 great reasons to assess indoor environmental quality – and 1 bad reason.

July 22, 2021

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s the importance indoor environmental quality (IEQ) has on the comfort and well-being of people inside. It’s been an issue for a lot longer, though. So long, it even has a name: Sick Building Syndrome. Sick Building Syndrome is a condition affecting office workers attributed to poorly managed facilities or stressful factors in the working environment such as poor ventilation.

It’s important to remember that the health of a building is about more than just air quality. It includes lighting, acoustics, temperature, and other factors. They all  play an important part in the well-being of your building and its occupants.

The IEQ of your building is as important as its location, design and amenities. The best way to make sure your IEQ is solid, is by having a professional assessment done. There are lots of reasons why you should as soon as possible; we’ve highlighted the top five below.

1. Spotting Invisible Threats

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It’s easy to see when a building’s roof is leaking or the carpet is worn. It’s not so easy to see how contaminated the air is in a building or whether background noise is causing increased stress levels.

An expert will evaluate your building’s system performances and offer improvements. For example, they may find your air quality needs to be improved and suggest the following solutions:

  • Diluting indoor air with fresh outdoor air
  • Exhausting potentially caustic air from places like kitchens, workrooms or bathrooms
  • Filtering micro-organisms like mold, certain viruses, and bacteria
  • Controlling humidity levels

In other words, they’ll be able to see hidden threats and give you an action plan to mitigate them.

In some cases, assessments can even be done remotely, depending on your building’s controls systems.  Assessments can also reveal inefficiencies in energy consumption.

2. Every Building Is Unique

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You can’t rely on factory or default settings to run your mechanical systems. These systems need to be regularly tuned depending on factors like age and purpose of your building, system types, schedule, and space use. An indoor air quality (IAQ) assessment must have a holistic approach, considering all the requirements of your building and its occupants.

Also, be very wary of solutions that claim to be “one size fits all”. They don’t. Your building is unique and deserves (needs) to be treated that way.

3. Following Best Practices Can Reduce Exposure

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Industry associations and health organizations like ASHRAE® and the CDC are dedicated to establishing guidelines which could help you gauge how well your building systems are doing at providing an optimal indoor environment for your occupants. An IAQ assessment can make sure you’re aligned with these standards, which can help reduce health-related complaints and actions.

These organizations continue to do research and discover better solutions, so their guidelines evolve over time. Having regular assessments makes sure you’re up to date and addressing your exposure.

4. Show The Love

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Relationships are crucial to a successful business. Sharing the highlights of your assessment and showing how you’re taking action is a great way to prove to occupants that, yes, you actually do care about their well-being. It’ll help increase loyalty and build a stronger relationship with occupants. Plus, you’ll be able to reinforce this with every action you take going forward. Everyone loves to hear good news.

5. Be Ready For the Next Challenge

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Being proactive pays big dividends. Regularly assessing your IEQ and staying up to date with best practice guidelines gives your building a better chance to succeed no matter what nature, people or microbes throw at us. As 2020 repeatedly showed, anything can happen at any time.

Oh, yes, we promised you one bad reason to have an IEQ assessment. And that would be…

Taking a once and done approach 

Getting an assessment without the intention to continuously follow through with real actions is like losing weight, but then stopping following a heathy diet and exercising. The weight is going to come back. If you don’t continue monitoring your IEQ, you’ll be back to square one.