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INDOOR AIR QUALITY Keeping employees and tenants healthy and productive Gail Lawlor Energy Matters February 7, 2014 CTM Building Management and Operations.

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Presentation on theme: "INDOOR AIR QUALITY Keeping employees and tenants healthy and productive Gail Lawlor Energy Matters February 7, 2014 CTM Building Management and Operations."— Presentation transcript:

1 INDOOR AIR QUALITY Keeping employees and tenants healthy and productive Gail Lawlor Energy Matters February 7, 2014 CTM Building Management and Operations Seminar

2 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN “I am certain that no air is so unwholesome as air in a closed room that has been often breathed and not changed.”

3 WHAT DO YOU THINK IS MEANT BY “GOOD INDOOR AIR QUALITY”?  Absence or low levels of contaminants  No odours - fresh, clean air  No one is made sick  Right temperature range and humidity

4 ACCORDING TO THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION AND ASHRAE……….  “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well- being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”  “Air in which there are no known contaminants or harmful concentrations and with which a substantial majority (usually 80%) of the people exposed do not express dissatisfaction”  Implies compliance with both objective criteria (measurements) and subjective criteria (e.g. odour) to provide comfort.

5 FACTORS AFFECTING IAQ These four elements are involved in IAQ problems: 1. Source of contamination or discomfort indoors, outdoors or within the mechanical system of the building 2. HVAC system not able to control existing contaminants and not able to ensure thermal comfort 3. Existence of one or more pollutant pathways (e.g. HVAC system or building penetration) and a driving force to move them along 4. Building occupants are present

6 WHO IS AFFECTED BY POOR INDOOR AIR?  Everyone is affected - some more than others  One out of five has some form of lung disease Clean air needed most by people who have respiratory issues

7 WHO IS AFFECTED BY POOR INDOOR AIR?  People with allergies  Individuals suffering from Environmental Hypersensitivity, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, etc.

8 TYPICAL IAQ COMPLAINTS What do you hear as typical IAQ problems in your work environment?  Headaches, cough, stuffy nose, dizziness, nausea, eye/nose/throat irritation, shortness of breath, skin irritation  Stuffy air, bad odours,  Too hot / too cold / too dry Some of these symptoms can be caused by other factors such as improper lighting, noise, vibration, over crowding, job stress

9 “SICK BUILDING SYNDROME” (SBS) Although there is no universal agreement on exactly what SBS is, the following definition is used: Sick Building Syndrome exists when a significant percentage (more than 20%) of the occupants complain during a 2-week period of a set of symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, nausea, eye irritation and throat irritation, that are alleviated by leaving the building and not known to be caused by any specific contaminants.

10 “BUILDING RELATED ILLNESS”  Diagnosable illness brought on by exposure to the building air  Can be directly attributed to environmental agents in the air  Legionnaire’s disease, carbon monoxide poisoning, radon exposure – all with serious life-threatening consequences.

11 WHY IS IAQ A PROBLEM NOW MORE THAN EVER?  Greater public awareness of the importance of healthy, comfortable and productive indoor environments  We spend about 90 percent of our time indoors !!  Air inside homes and offices can be more polluted than outside air!  US EPA ranks indoor air pollution (second hand smoke, radon, organic compounds and biological pollutants) among the top five environmental threats to public health

12 WHY IS IAQ A PROBLEM NOW MORE THAN EVER?  Managing a building is increasingly more difficult and complex due to competing demands:  Contain or reduce operating costs  Health and safety  Building maintenance, housekeeping  Attention and resources can be drawn away from IAQ

13 WHY GOOD IAQ MAKES SENSE  When the IAQ is good, buildings are more desirable places to work, to learn, to conduct business, and to rent  Widespread impacts can lead to significant costs due to health-care expenses, sick leave and lost productivity  EPA estimated tens of billions of dollars saved each year in the USA when IAQ is good in the workplace! Happy and healthy employees/tenants is the goal !

14 CURRENT IAQ STANDARDS  ASHRAE Standard 62.1 2013 Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality  Industry consensus standard cited by Canadian Labour and Building Code for office environments  Specifies minimum ventilation rates and other measures to provide IAQ that minimizes adverse health effects  Guides the improvement of IAQ in existing buildings  Intended for regulatory application for new buildings and additions  Download from ASHRAE for $79

15 BEST DEFENSE – MANAGE IAQ 1. Designate an IAQ Manager  E.g. facility manager, health and safety director 2. Develop an IAQ Profile  Document current IAQ situation and existing operation and maintenance practices,  Conduct walkthrough – look for IAQ indicators (discoloured walls, fans or heaters at desks, dirty filters etc.) 3. Address Existing and Potential IAQ Problems

16 1. REMOVE or REDUCE the source 2. ISOLATE / SEAL / COVER the source or modify the environment (e.g. schedule contaminant-producing activities during unoccupied periods) 3. Improve VENTILATION to dilute and/or exhaust pollutants 4. Improve air FILTRATION “Get rid of the skunks” IAQ SOLUTION STRATEGIES

17 BEST DEFENSE – MANAGE IAQ 4. Educate Building Staff / Tenants About IAQ Management  They can look out for blocked vents, water leaks, unsanitary conditions 5. Develop / Implement Plan for Facility Operations and Maintenance  IAQ can be affected both by the quality of maintenance and by the materials and procedures used to operate and maintain the building  Poor housekeeping can cause IAQ problems, including the cleaning products!  Produce a written preventative maintenance schedule for monitoring, inspecting and cleaning HVAC components

18 BEST DEFENSE – MANAGE IAQ 6. Manage Times of Significant Pollutant Sources (renovations, pest control etc.)  Isolate work areas, choose low VOC products, schedule work during periods of low occupation, pressurize space etc. 7. Maintain Cooperative Relations with Tenants and Occupants  Both to prevent IAQ problems from occurring and cooperation when solving existing problems  Provide EPA’s “An Office Building Occupants’ Guide to Indoor Air Quality”

19 BEST DEFENSE – MANAGE IAQ 8. Establish Procedure for Responding to IAQ Complaints  Occupant complaints about IAQ must be taken seriously and investigated fully  If building occupants know they will get a response – more likely to provide prompt, helpful input about building conditions  Keep good records – may come in handy some day to prove efficient and effective response

20 IF YOU NEED EXPERT HELP What to Expect from an IAQ Audit:  Measurement of:  Temperature, humidity  Carbon Monoxide  Carbon Dioxide  Airborne Particulates  Mechanical system review  Physical inspection for signs of moisture/mold  Prioritized list of recommendations for actions Measurements are best used to compare “problem” areas with “acceptable” areas

21 THERMAL COMFORT - TEMPERATURE  ASHRAE Standard 55 Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy sets standard for temperature and Relative Humidity  Perception of comfort dependent on activity level, clothing, etc. as well as air temperature, circulation, air velocity, thermal radiation and humidity  Winter range: 19.9 to 24.5 °C  Summer range: 22.5 to 27 °C  Fall and Spring entire temperature range acceptable

22 THERMAL COMFORT - HUMIDITY  Relative Humidity (RH) below 60% in summer  Between 25 and 50% for winter  High winter RH may lead to condensation on interior and exterior surfaces – potential for mold growth  Below 25% RH – drying of nasal passage and lips, irritation of eyes and those wearing contacts  Low RH can affect operation of computers and paper processing equipment

23 CARBON MONOXIDE  Colourless, odourless, tasteless toxic gas is a product of incomplete combustion  Sources of combustion contaminants in commercial buildings:  Gas and oil heating systems  Tobacco smoke  Food courts  Underground parking garages  Loading docks attached to or having a pathway to working spaces

24 CARBON MONOXIDE – HEALTH EFFECTS  Chronic low levels of CO can compromise existing health condition such as respiratory problems and chronic hear disease  Symptoms can be nagging headaches, constant stuffiness  Higher concentrations symptoms include dizziness, vomiting, flu like symptoms general weakness and confusion and even death

25 CARBON DIOXIDE  Measurement indicates if fresh air is sufficient  800 – 1000 ppm or less indicates adequate ventilation  Naturally occurring substance  We exhale it  Plants use it in photosynthesis  Symptoms can include:  Poor concentration,  Headaches  Fatigue  Leading to laboured breathing and unconsciousness

26 AIRBORNE PARTICULATES  Dust, fumes, smoke, viruses, pollen grains, bacteria and mold spores  Outside sources drawn into the building through infiltration, outdoor air intakes, occupants’ clothing and footwear  Inside sources from paper handling, carpets, poor housekeeping, retrofit activities, mechanical ventilation system (e.g. humidifier additives, scale, disinfectants)

27  Which is the only factor we can control?  Nutrients  Temperature  Presence of oxygen  Water  Time Water FACTORS THAT AFFECT GERMINATION AND GROWTH OF MOLDS

28 MOISTURE is the key to MOLD GROWTH !!

29 To avoid mold problems we need to: Keep surfaces warm and dry

30 WHAT DO YOU NOT NEED IN AN IAQ AUDIT NO Mold testing required  Mold is an indicator that there is a moisture problem  Find the moisture source  Resolve the moisture problem  Clean / remove the moldy items  NO NEED TO TEST FOR MOLD  Clean up procedure is the same whether you test or not

31 IN CONCLUSION……  Maintaining a healthy and comfortable indoor environment in any building requires integrating many components of a complex system  Indoor air problems are preventable and solvable  Practical guidance is available from EPA, ASHRAE and Health Canada

32 FOR MORE INFORMATION Search for Building Environmental Systems (BES) for part time and correspondence courses. ASHRAE’s FREE Indoor Air Quality Guide Provides information and tools to create healthy work spaces without incurring excessive costs or employing special trades Collaborative effort for best practices

33 FOR MORE INFORMATION EPA’s FREE Building Air Quality: A Guide for Building Owners and Facility Managers (BAQ), available online: pdf EPA’s FREE Building Air Quality Action Plan 8 step Action Plan that provides a logical set of steps to achieve better IAQ in a building

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