Air quality in offices affects productivity and satisfaction
The amount of time most people spend in the office is second only to the amount of time they spend at home. So it is no surprise that the air people breathe at work has an important impact on their overall health and productivity.
Sources of office air pollution
The air quality in office buildings is often compromised by a combination of indoor and outdoor pollution sources. Outdoor pollution sources can include busy streets, bus terminals, adjacent car parks, railway stations, airports, manufacturing, industry, agriculture and more. Badly maintained HVAC systems, office and building materials, photocopiers and laser printers can be an indoor source of particulate and gaseous pollutants.
Sick Building Syndrome
One term often heard in connection with office buildings is “Sick Building Syndrome” (SBS), described by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as “situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.”
While many factors can contribute to SBS, indoor air quality problems occur in as many as 30% of all commercial buildings, according to the World Health Organization. A report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reported that 23% of U.S. office workers experience symptoms related to Sick Building Syndrome, decreasing overall productivity nationwide by 2%. The cost? $60 billion annually.
Potential causes of SBS
Inadequate ventilation is only one potential cause of Sick Building Syndrome. Contaminants from indoor sources, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), can produce acute reactions and cause symptoms such as headaches, respiratory distress, fatigue and other health problems. Along with source removal and increased ventilation, the EPA recommends high-performance air purification as a measure of protection against Sick Building Syndrome.
IQAir offers a range of products to provide effective removal of air pollutants, either in the form of stand-alone air cleaning systems or as part of a central HVAC system.