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You Are What You Breathe


With all the uncertainties surrounding the global pandemic in 2020, many employers and building managers are looking to make tangible changes to their building’s health and safety systems to prepare the new normal that the world will be facing after COVID-19.


Here are the topics we will be covering; jump to any section you find relevant to you:

What is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?
What are the Costs of Bad IAQ?
What are the Benefits of Good IAQ?
How can you improve your IAQ?


What is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?


Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is a standard that measures the air quality within and around a building, particularly as it relates to the health and comfort of the building occupants.

What is in my Indoor Air?



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AIRBORNE PARTICLES

PM particulates dust, dirt, pollen, smoke, hair, and other sources.
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ODOURS AND GASSES

Emissions from cleaning agents, plumbing smells, office equipment and perfumes.
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VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCS)

Paints, glues, varnishes, preservatives, office copiers and printers, stored chemicals.
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MICROORGANISMS

Fungi, mold, bacteria, viruses (i.e. COVID-19), yeast and mites.


What are the Costs of Poor IAQ?


50%

Of sick leave is linked to poor indoor air quality
|

$16B

Per year is lost labour due to illness in Canada

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a phenomenon being researched in buildings. Sick Building Syndrome is described as acute symptoms that occupants experience in specific spaces (such as an office) – and symptoms that improve when they leave that space.

Symptoms of poor air quality include:

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FATIGUE
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coughing
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breathing problems
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depression
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Headaches
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Irritated eyes, nose,
skin, throat


What are the Benefits of Good IAQ?


Investing in your Indoor Air Quality means investing in your people, your building, and future-proofing your business. Filters are the most effective when it comes to improving Indoor Air Quality, and they are rated by MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). Higher rated, higher efficiency filters* may cost more, but results in healthier occupants who are more satisfied and productive.

*Higher efficiency filters refers to the filter’s efficiency at filtering particles out of the air – not to be confused with energy efficiency.


One study (Building and Environment, Vol.43) estimates the cost and benefits of a high efficiency filter as follows:

*Higher efficiency filters refers to the filter’s efficiency at filtering particles out of the air – not to be confused with energy efficiency.


MERV 12 MERV 14 MERV 17 (HEPA)
% of Particle Removed* < 50% 50 - 75 > 95%
Cost per year per occupant $2.64 $2.85 $3.00
Benefits per year per occupant $45 $90 $135
*based on 0.3 to 1μm particles


How Can You Improve Your IAQ?


According to ASHRAE Standard 62-2020, office buildings require a minimum standard of 5 CFM/person (Cubic Feet Per Metre Per Person) and 2.5L/s/P (Litres Per Second Per Person). However, BC Comfort recommends that companies exceed these expectations if they want to see a decrease in illness and Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).

In an Office Building Setting


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Switching to High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters will trap up to 99.97 percent of particles down to 0.3 microns. Although incredibly efficient, there is still a likelihood that 0.1 to 0.3 μm (such as the coronavirus) can pass through UV-C disinfection can be installed to increase your existing filter’s efficiency and even neutralize biological pathogens.

Here are the steps that ia certified BC Comfort technical will take to ensure that your IAQ meets and exceeds all standards.


  • Perform an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) test to identify pollution level and sources.

  • Recommend solutions based on the test results.

  • Service or upgrade your HVAC systems to improve your Indoor Air Quality


Contact your BC Comfort Technican if you are interested in improving your building’s IAQ today.