Indoor Air Quality Solutions
Follow These Procedures to Avoid Indoor Air Quality Problems
At the root of most commercial building indoor air quality problems is poor HVAC design, maintenance or both. However, you can ensure that your employees remain both comfortable and healthy by asking the right questions and following some basic procedures:
1. Ask the right questions
It is important at the very outset that the building’s owner, construction manager, or contractor determine what functions will be taking place inside the building so that the HVAC system can be properly designed. The amount of space devoted to office or production, the number of people that will populate the building, the heat load, and current regulations for the amount of fresh air required per person must all be considered.
2. Proper sizing of equipment
Taking those elements into account, an effective HVAC system must be properly sized. An undersized system will lead to higher utility costs and diminished occupant comfort. An oversized system, on the other hand, will waste unnecessary money on equipment, as well as create comfort problems. For example, an oversized cooling unit can result in low humidity problems, which in turn can lead to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) difficulties.
3. Get the right answers
While design qualifications are contained in building codes, it is critical that those designing the system not just ask the right questions, but be sure to identify those individuals capable of providing the requisite accurate information.
4. Do the job right
While system design is critical, so too is installation. HVAC systems can be complex, and you want to ensure that the team performing the installation – from design engineers and installation managers to project managers and installers – is capable and experienced.
5. Service after the job
Even a properly designed and installed system, however, can create IAQ problems if not regularly serviced and maintained. Filters must be cleaned or changed when needed, belts tightened or changed, coils cleaned, condensate pans cleaned to ensure they are not harboring molds, and vents checked to insure they are open.
6. Remote Monitoring
Today, new technology has created controls that allow remote monitoring of factors such as temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide (demand-based ventilation) with the ability to change settings from a distance via computer or smartphone.