‘Sleeper’ Issue: Indoor Air Quality

Thirty percent of commercial buildings in the United States have poor indoor air quality (IAQ), according to an article in Buildings.

And a white paper from UL entitled “Dawn of the Building Performance Era,” refers to IAQ as a “sleeping giant” in the United States. The paper finds a major cause of poor indoor air quality is the growing amount of chemicals in buildings, which can emanate from technology hardware, construction materials, furniture and furnishings, and cleaning products. According to UL’s air quality scientists there are 80,000 chemicals in international commerce today with only three percent fully evaluated for health benefits.

UL’s air quality scientists estimate we are easily within five years of having effective air quality detectors available for commercial use in buildings,” says the white paper’s author.

Kimberly-Clark Professional Filtration offers the following tips for commercial buildings to improve their IAQ, according to the Buildings article.

  • Maintain HVAC air filters. Replace filters according to the schedule recommended by the manufacturer, or use a pressure gauge to determine when the filter has reached its final pressure drop.
  • Beware of the smallest particles. The minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) is measured by the ASHRAE 52.2 Test Standard, which provides the efficiency of the filter over three particle size ranges. Kimberly-Clark advises to go for filters with the highest efficiencies, especially for the smallest particle sizes.

- Linda Hardesty , Energy Manager Today