It seems like every news cycle is dominated by talk of air pollution and poor indoor air quality. There are ways, however, to influence the quality of indoor environments.
Here are four quick changes that facility managers can make to improve indoor air quality.
1. Boost ventilation.
One simple way of helping alleviate air issues is by boosting the flow of air throughout a facility by opening windows. Oftentimes, facility managers try to improve air by putting additional filters in place by cranking up the HVAC, but that drags down airflow (there’s a better solution at Number Four on our list!). Also, note that bacteria and spores grow in warm, wet environments, so consider getting dehumidifiers for problem areas, like areas of water leaks and damage.
2. Remove problems.
Certain types of carpeting and office furniture give off vapors that are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which in turn affect respiration and exacerbate asthma symptoms. That’s why many companies opt for wood or tile flooring. Look to replace things like toxic wall paint to with non-toxic alternatives, too.
3. Go green.
“Cleaning for Health” is a huge trend these days and focusing on green cleaning techniques can improve overall indoor air quality. Get started by downloading our whitepaper.
4. Get AeraMax® Professional.
Quite simply, the most effective way to positively impact indoor air quality is by installing AeraMax Professional commercial grade air purifiers. These units remove 99.97 percent of indoor contaminants like germs, bacteria, allergens and VOCs, making indoor air livable and breathable again. Each also is effective at removing odors from indoor spaces, making them ideal for high traffic areas. The air purifiers come in wall mount and stand units in a variety of sizes to suit most indoor spaces, and offer an easy way to get ahead of indoor air quality issues.
You know those TV commercials pushing probiotics, the ones claiming there’s good microorganisms in your stomach that battle the bad? Well, that’s what healthcare professionals call the Human Microbiome, a balance of microorganisms in internal organs that both regulate health and cause illness. Researchers have for years been mapping the Human Microbiome, much like in the way that predecessors mapped the Human Genome. The idea: by mapping out the microorganisms living in humans, healthcare professionals may be able to see patterns or affect change in the body by modifying the overall mix.
Now, researchers at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) are attempting to map a microbiome for manmade environments, like office buildings, in the hopes that they can understand how microbial environments affect human health.
As part of its study, NAS is looking at the ways different microbials invade built environments, as well as how humans impact these environments, like workplaces. By better understanding the interplay of people and environments, the researchers hope to determine how to influence these environments—like what kinds of building materials, ventilation systems and construction techniques would create positive microbiomes. The final report is expected to be released sometime this year.
More and more companies are realizing the benefits of green cleaning. Now you can too with the latest in our whitepaper series for facility managers. It’s called Change is in the Air: How Green Cleaning Protects the Environment and Health, and it outlines the importance of developing a solid green cleaning program, as well as the steps to undertake—and succeed at—the task of green cleaning.
Implementing a Green Cleaning Program
Contrary to some misperceptions, green cleaning isn’t only about using solvents and cleaning agents that leave little environmental impact. Instead, green cleaning focuses on a holistic approach to cleaning that positively impacts both the environment and health, streamlining operations so less energy is used, more efficiency is created and more healthful practices are implemented. Ultimately, it’s a movement that focuses on cleaning for health—and the whitepaper clearly outlines how that can happen in any facility, big or small.
The benefits to health can’t be overstated. For example, in one school, an indoor air quality program that focused on green cleaning techniques saw airborne dust inside the building decrease by 52 percent, VOC concentrations decrease by 49 percent and bacteria decrease by 40 percent.
Download it for free
Our new whitepaper includes a green cleaning checklist, as well as step-by-step processes to ensure green cleaning practices, and is available here.
It’s common knowledge that Hong Kong has some of the world’s worst air quality, given that rampant industrial expansion, a reliance on automobiles and a lax regulatory environment mean that air pollution often goes unchecked. But a German architect is applying his design skills to do something about it.
Dénes Honus has founded Green City Solutions, and has come up with a novel way of “eating” air pollution. His company has designed something called CityTrees, a vertical garden of sorts that employs pollution-eating moss as its greenery. Each CityTree unit resembles a vertical ramp, with the greenery attached to the side wall and benches situated at either end.
According to Honus, German universities gave him the idea, as they were doing extensive research into moss cultures and their ability to “eat” air pollution. Bacteria on the surface of the moss attracts particulate matter, which in turn is absorbed by the moss.
The first of the vertical garden CityTrees were installed in Germany, with additional units located in Norway, France and now Hong Kong. Each unit is self-sufficient, with water tanks storing rainwater and a solar panel powering a sensor to determine when the moss needs to be irrigated.
Each CityTree is as effective at combatting air pollution as 275 planted trees, but takes up significantly less space. And, according to Honus and research from the University of Hong Kong, 200 CityTrees would reduce air pollution in a city by 30 percent or more.
An added bonus: the dense, dark green moss becomes a design element in parks and plazas, breaking up the drab look of concrete sidewalks with a splash of color.
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