Learn About the Benefits of Optimizing Indoor Air Quality

A quality HVAC IAQ deployment has quickly become the standard. Gone are the days of hacks and weak system installations and maintenance. The purity of breathing air is now principal, and that is the way it should be to ensure the health and prosperity of workers and team members.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) measures the purity of breathing air a space offers. IAQ is affected, for better or worse, by many factors. The inhabitants of an area, in conjunction with a well-thought-out HVAC strategy, contribute to the indoor air’s cleanliness.

From a physiological stance, the human body is accustomed to breathing air, as it is found in most parts of nature. Primarily made of Nitrogen (about 78%) and Oxygen (about 21%). However, when people are crammed into indoor spaces, the makeup of “quality air” can get misshapen.

Unlike outdoors, most indoor spaces lack the natural mechanisms to decontaminate air. The most notable of these purifiers are plant life photosynthesis (the production of Oxygen as a byproduct of sunlight and CO2 intake). Another less recognized is the production of negative and positive charged ions from bodies of water, moving water, wind, and other elements. These ions bind to and deactivate particulate, bacteria, viruses, etc. Sunlight is a massive air cleanser that can neutralize many common Indoor Air Quality invaders. Lastly, for note here, the earth’s soil and bodies of water act as a significant carbon sink, helping to reduce the amount of carbon in humans air. Disclosure: for purposes here, we are not considering the pollution of our natural outdoor air. We are speaking of outdoor air as it is found in nature, unharmed by earthly pollution. For health, humans must breathe a makeup of an atmosphere as close to nature as possible. Now, the human body is very resilient and capable of unique adaptations, but the destruction caused by indoor air quality cannot be ignored. It may be slow or hard to see, but poor air affects our organs, blood, cells, connective tissue, metabolism, energy production, homeostasis, etc. Moreover, in times of Flu or pandemic, we are doubling down on the pollutants found in the air. More people and weak IAQ deployment in a building are a recipe for disaster.

In terms of HVAC tactics, IAQ is the practice in which we aim to bring the makeup of indoor breathing air as close to nature as possible and filter out contaminants from illness. We can do this in a variety of ways. First and foremost would be the introduction of “fresh” outdoor air to spaces via Economization. Economization is Strictly following ASHRAE’s recommended number of air changes per hour for your type of space, reading the amount of CO2, and introducing more outdoor air as that number increases. Both of these are fine and considered industry standards. Economization is simple, and a few system modifications can benefit health and wellness. The second largest IAQ approach uses devices and strategies to purify the air inside a building specifically, starting at the most straightforward, media filtration (passive). Every building has media filters, but the important part is the filters’ quality and longevity. Low-end filters consist of fragile horsehair fibers that are not easily visible to the naked eye. At the opposite end of the spectrum is HEPA-high MERV-rated filters. You would want to opt for a higher- level filter that can clean out more and smaller particulate. Once you have the appropriate filter, maintaining them becomes vital. A sound building automation control system will tell you when filters must be replaced. These alerts are not to be ignored! Beyond media, filtration would be active air purifiers, such as UV light. and Ionization. Both use energy to negate or neutralize particulate, bacteria, viruses, etc. Where they differ is in the approach. UV mimics the ability of the sun to kill these air pollutants with physical light bulb structures added to air handling units. As air is fed past them, they use ultraviolet rays to do the job. Ionizers release positive and negatively charged ions in the air stream and, in turn, the space. These ions bind to the impurities and deactivate and/or make them prominent and sticky so that the media filter catches them. Ionization, most importantly needlepoint ionization, is safe and mimics the ability of water, moving water, wind, etc., to clean breathing air. A quality HVAC IAQ deployment has quickly become the standard. Gone are the days of hacks and weak system installations and maintenance. The purity of breathing air is now principal, and that is the way it should be to ensure the health and prosperity of workers and team members.

“ASHRAE leadership has approved the following two statements regarding the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the operation of HVAC systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the process of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures. Ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems can reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and, thus, the risk of transmission through the air. Unconditioned spaces can cause thermal stress to people that may be directly life-threatening and that may also lower resistance to infection. In general, disabling of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems is not a recommended measure to reduce the transmission of the virus.” cited from RESOURCES FROM ASHRAE

To improve indoor air quality (IAQ), we have developed a list of 10 quality products vetted and proven to fight harmful contaminants and increase your building’s air quality. For a complete list of these hand-selected products, continue reading. For more information on these products, how they work, and how you can purchase them, please contact your local Broudy Precision representative, who will gladly assist.