May 9, 2023
Commercial buildings are those used by businesses and other organizations to conduct their operations, such as office buildings, warehouses, retail stores, and factories. These structures often house many people, making the air quality inside them a key concern.
Poor air quality is linked to numerous health problems, such as asthma and allergies. It can also lead to decreased productivity and increased employee absenteeism due to respiratory illnesses.
According to the World Health Organization, poor air quality is a major environmental health risk worldwide and can even lead to premature death. Fortunately, commercial building owners and managers can consider the following tips to improve the air quality inside of their buildings.
1. Adequate Ventilation
Ventilation entails introducing fresh air into a building while removing stale or polluted air. Proper ventilation helps to clean indoor air by diluting and dispersing contaminants like dust, mold spores, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
Commercial buildings can adopt natural ventilation techniques such as opening windows and doors when the external air quality is good and the weather is suitable. Ceiling fans can be utilized, too. They can also opt for mechanical ventilation systems, such as HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) units. For residents of St Louis and the surrounding areas, Scott-Lee Heating Company is an excellent source for reliable HVAC equipment.
2. Install Air Purifiers and Filtration Systems
Air purifiers and filtration systems can help to improve the air quality of commercial buildings by trapping particles such as pollen, dust, dander, and smoke. They work by drawing in air from the surroundings and filtering out contaminants before they can be released into the building’s interior.
In addition to their cleaning capability, air purifiers emit negative ions, which can help to neutralize airborne pollutants like bacteria or mold spores. Using high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filters in these systems is also a good idea, as they capture 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns.
Air filters should be regularly changed in all air conditioning and ventilation systems to ensure they operate optimally. Otherwise, the system could recirculate stale air instead of introducing new, clean air into the building. Depending on the type of filter used, it may need to be replaced as often as every three months or several times a year.
3. Ensure There Is Humidity Control
Excessive moisture can cause an unpleasant musty odor in buildings and increase indoor pollutants such as molds, bacteria, and dust mite allergens. This is because these pollutants can thrive in damp environments. To deal with such issues, commercial buildings should consider installing dehumidifiers. You will also want to measure relative humidity levels regularly to ensure they remain in a healthy range, between 30% and 60%.
4. Regular Cleaning and Maintenance
Frequent cleaning and maintenance are necessary for commercial buildings, as dust and other particles accumulate on surfaces like carpets, curtains, furniture, walls, and ceilings over time. It is important to clean these surfaces regularly with vacuum cleaners designed to trap dust particles instead of scattering them into the air.
Furthermore, it is essential to use chemical-free cleaning products such as nontoxic detergents and eco-friendly disinfectants. Commercial buildings should also avoid using aerosol cans while cleaning since these emit volatile organic compounds that can accumulate and contribute to poor air quality.
5. Introduce House Plants
Some plants, such as peace lilies, spider plants, and golden pothos, are known for their air-purifying abilities. They absorb pollutants from the air through their leaves and convert them into food. In doing so, they release oxygen, which circulates in the air and helps to improve indoor air quality. Additionally, these plants contribute to the aesthetics of a building and can help to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation among occupants.
6. Restrict Smoking
Smoking releases various pollutants, including carbon monoxide, nicotine, and other chemicals. Inhaling secondhand smoke can harm those suffering from respiratory conditions such as asthma or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Designating specific smoking areas outside the building and restricting indoor smoking can help to protect people’s health in commercial buildings.
7. Emphasize Proper Waste Disposal
Waste materials such as plastics, chemicals, and paints emit VOCs into the air, which can be hazardous if inhaled. It is crucial to ensure that all waste materials are disposed of safely and responsibly to prevent potential hazards.
Some of the ways commercial buildings can improve their waste disposal methods include:
- Segregating waste materials and disposing of them in different containers.
- Using biodegradable containers for storing liquids and solids.
- Encouraging occupants to reuse, reduce, and recycle whenever possible.
8. Beware of Building Materials
Certain materials used to construct and furnish commercial buildings, such as paints, glues, and wood products, can contain VOCs that can off-gas into the air. Before introducing any new furniture or materials into a building, it is important to research them for potential VOC emissions. Low-VOC options are available on the market and should be considered when purchasing items to bring indoors.
9. Educate and Engage Occupants
Educating occupants about the importance of air quality can go a long way toward helping them to understand how their behaviors can contribute to the overall hygiene and safety of commercial buildings.
There are several ways of engaging occupants, such as:
- Encouraging and supporting green initiatives.
- Organizing regular seminars or workshops on air quality and health.
- Providing resources for smoking cessation programs.
- Including air quality information in newsletters or other publications.
10. The Size and Design of the Building
The bigger the building, the more air pollution it will produce. A larger building may require more energy to maintain a comfortable temperature and ventilation, thus increasing emissions.
Additionally, if buildings are designed with poor insulation or inadequate ventilation systems, they can contribute to poor air quality by trapping pollutants indoors. Therefore, designing new buildings that maximize natural light and fresh airflow while minimizing their overall size is essential for improving indoor air quality.
It is also important to avoid overpopulating the building, as this can increase the number of pollutants produced by individuals and create an unhealthy indoor environment.
As a building owner or manager of a commercial building, it is important to improve air quality and ensure a safe and healthy environment for occupants. By following the tips mentioned above, businesses can help to improve the air quality in their buildings. This will benefit the health of those inside and contribute to better productivity levels and an overall improved working atmosphere. It is, however, essential to consult with your local health department before implementing any changes to ensure you follow air quality safety regulations.
At Scott-Lee Heating Company, we provide comprehensive services for businesses looking to improve their buildings’ indoor air quality. From HVAC services to air filtration services to humidifiers and dehumidifier services, you can rely on us to keep your commercial building’s air quality at its best. Contact us today at Scott-Lee Heating Company, and experience unmatched air quality improvement services in St Louis and the surrounding areas.