I don’t normally post guest articles, but I received this interesting one from Steve Levine and I think it deserves some exposure as it’s on a very important topic. When we think “green” we normally put our focus on recycling, energy efficient lighting, and eco-sensitive waste disposal. But what about the air we are breathing?
For those of you who might be saying “What does air have to do with marketing and selling space?” take heed. We are now serving a generation raised on tossing bottles and cans into separate trash bins. That’s reality. And, ultimately, their decision to select one center over another one may have less to do with wall coverings and more to do with eco-sensitivity and, yes, may even come down to the quality of the air one can expect to breathe upon entering its spaces. We know that many centers, such as ROC, already “get it” when it comes to green initiatives. But there are many center owners and operators who are not yet on board. The times are a-changing.
Below is the article which looks into air as a “feature” in depth. A shout out to Steve Levine, by the way, who as one might surmise, does market an air purification product but has taken the time to put together a cohesive article that stands on its own and can be used to educate all of us on some of the hazards of bad air.
Business centers are on the constant hunt to fill their office space and look for ways to make their venues more appealing to individuals and businesses seeking a professional base.
While most business centers “think” office layout, Internet connections and Wi-Fi, conference rooms, phone connections, I bet only a very few consider the health of those people who will be working inside the building. And how many think about the marketing advantage of promoting an office space that promotes sustainability and provides tenants with clean, healthy indoor air quality?
Sadly, too few.
The air inside a new or existing office building can literally make you sick.
The average office building can be a breeding ground for mold, dust, odors, bacteria and airborne viruses due to poor air filtration and ventilation systems.
That’s why including clean air devices when planning construction of a new office building or retro-fitting an existing building is so important. In fact, it’s become critical as building owners seek Green sustainability, and need incentives to fill office space.
Sick building syndrome is very real and occurs when people feel ill inside a building and immediately feel better when they go outdoors. And if that person has allergies or asthma, poor indoor air quality can make them feel even worse.
In an office building, unhealthy air can cause illness among employees, which also leads to less productivity.
Modern building construction methods and client wishes have demanded greater energy efficiency than ever before. While a more insulated building allows for better heating and cooling efficiency, it can degrade the quality of the air within a space causing sick building syndrome, causing occupants to feel symptoms such as sore throats, itchy red eyes, sneezing, headaches, fatigue, etc.
So fresh indoor air quality devices, installed into heating and air conditioning systems, are no longer a luxury when planning a new office building or renovating an existing space. It’s become key to creating a healthy, Green indoor environment that makes physical and financial sense. The initial cost of installing clean air devices into buildings will be far less than the cost of sick days, lack of productivity, and the lawsuit building owners might face when employees get ill from working in a building with stagnant air.
Owners and operators that do not consider indoor air quality in construction planning can expect mold, dust, odors, bacteria and airborne viruses to be prevalent in a building.
A study done by the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that preventable absenteeism due to poor air quality cost a company $480 per worker per year in lost productivity. The EPA estimates that US businesses lose $60-billion per year due to lost productivity. Employers and employees have also become very aware of the presence and effects of poor indoor air quality and are demanding a healthier indoor environment.
So a small, but growing number of offices are marketing green, sustainable and healthier workspaces as a way of distinguishing themselves from their competition and to address the competitive demands from the marketplace. Planning and installing clean air devices is one way to assure improved health and productivity while marketing a building as a sustainable space.
When planning an air purification system builders should take into consideration three critical factors:
- Does the air purification system address all classes of contaminants typically found in indoor spaces?
- Does the air purification system address contaminants in the space?
- Does the air purification systems avoid added energy and mechanical equipment costs?
One technology that can answer yes to all three is bi-polar ionization. Bi-polar systems use negative and positive ions introduced into the space the reduce contaminants and produce noticeably cleaner, fresher odor free indoor air.
Most businesses that invest in clean indoor air products do so to improve their health, but what they also discover is that these devices also lower the costs of operating a building by reducing energy bills annually.
A major advantage of using bi-polar ionization is energy cost savings. Bi-Polar systems can enable mechanical engineers to utilize the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) 62.1 IAQ Procedures. The IAQ Procedure allows for reductions in outside air levels while maintaining code compliance and can result in HVAC equipment savings of 20% or more and operating energy cost savings of 40% or more. Typically the equipment first cost savings are more than the cost of the bi-polar systems.
Major companies like McDonald’s, Nestlé’s and Siemens have installed bi-polar products to keep their employees healthy and reduce building costs.
In the competitive office space environment, owners and operators need to differentiate themselves. By designing, planning and installing indoor air quality devices, you’ll not only provide a healthier workplace, but you will also reduce your building’s energy demands and operational costs.
So when you’re planning a new or renovated office space, add indoor air quality to your list of “to-do.” It’s a win-win for owners and operators of business centers and those individuals and companies that will occupy your space.
Steve Levine is the President and CEO of AtmosAir Solutions in Fairfield CT. More information is at: www.atmosair.com