How 2020’s impact will determine our approach to indoor air quality during 2021
2020 has been the year of putting the spotlight into indoor air quality.
The covid19 pandemic spread principally through aerosol has pushed the population to create social distancing and to avoid the most they can spend too much time in shared spaces.
Public transports, restaurants, hospitals, and other public venues have become potentially dangerous for human health, a situation never experienced before, and with this global alarm breaking up our routines, a not so new issue jumped to the first line: indoor air quality.
Though the concern about the high levels of pollution in big cities and the perils of outdoor air has been questioned for a long time, indoor air quality was subdued to a second place, although the 50% of respiratory problems are directly related to it.
The media has played an important role in spreading information about the indoor air quality problem. They’ve pointed out what’s happening and why indoor air pollution is a silent environmental health risk.
Although applicable solutions for the short and long-term are on the way, the patterns to follow in order to improve indoor air quality will take some time to develop. Without a doubt, this process is involving the IAQ experts who will have to lead the change.
How to make a positive impact and help make the air we breathe better?
Here are 5 ideas to keep on top of mind to make the most out of indoor air quality.
AI, air monitoring and energy efficiency
It is well known that most of the current HVAC systems have high energy consumptions due to a lack of air regulation. In traditional centralized indoor air mechanical systems where every single room has the same temperature, no matter if it’s empty or occupied, the waste of resources is considerably high.
In this sense, taking advantage of AI to regulate the temperatures in every single room, can help to make wiser use of the resources.
Energy efficiency should be one of the key points to take into account when talking about the indoor air quality industry. Making proper use of the resources we have it’s crucial, and a fundamental part of our compromise with the planet.
Air monitoring can also give useful information about the quality of the air we breathe. Companies such as Air Rated, provide certification for Indoor Air Quality using the latest sensor technology. By collecting information in detail about the environment, they grade it based on leading medical research and industry best practice. The process will determine the building’s AirScore.
Improving ductwork maintenance
Poor maintenance can play a dangerous role, and its consequences are directly related to the poor air quality that will get to the indoor spaces.
Most ductwork systems are working only at half of its capacity, and once installed, they often don’t receive enough attention and maintenance.
Improving filtration is also in the to-do list since one of the main problems that mechanical ventilation present is that filters aren’t changed with the frequency that they should, and tend to accumulate pollutants that move through the air channels. In some cases, these filters are even installed in places where it is impossible to access once the ductwork is installed, therefore, there’s no option to do regular filter changes.
All these problems are now beginning to be taken into account, and ensuring a good condition of the ventilation channels will be a fundamental requirement when considering what type of indoor air quality is expected inside a building.
Air purifiers far from being a hype are a useful complement in the fight for providing good indoor air quality, especially in public buildings.
Its benefits can help traditional mechanical ventilation being more efficient, and its purification processes start providing clean airflow all above the ductwork before getting into the rooms. In this sense, they are a good option to help maintain ductwork free of mould and bacteria.
Active air purifiers are effective and safe for people. Products that work through the photocatalytic oxidation system based on titanium dioxide are a harmless option, and it’s high level of photoactivity, added to its low cost, makes it proactive.
IAQ education for customers and users
The truthful information regarding what are the main problems that indoor air quality presents and how they affect our health, is a necessity to avoid falling into fake news.
In this sense, IAQ and HVAC experts need to take the word and provide efficient information on what are the main causes of polluted indoor air quality, how to improve them and why it’s important to count on better and more efficient mechanical ventilation and purification systems
Rethinking new buildings and air distribution
Not only is it important to count on an efficient ventilation system, but also a wise air distribution will definitely influence the quality of the air we breathe. There are buildings that count on sophisticated air systems, but the air distribution tends to be poor and thus, inefficient.
One of the main challenges for this 2021 will be to improve as much as we can the main indoor air quality problems we’ve been facing without noticing, and those that are especially dangerous for our health and that has caused a big social impact all through 2020.
Providing enough resources for companies to offer their employees safe spaces where airflow is as clean as possible it’s key to make work environments friendly again.
Public spaces are a needed part of our society and to make them safer for our use, it’s indoor air quality needs to experience a drastic change. Awareness is good, but the next step must be action.
It’s a shared responsibility, now more than ever.
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