Improvements in the last several years in HVAC technology have led to increasingly better indoor environments that benefit everyone who lives or works in a building. Indoor air quality is particularly important for large commercial buildings such as corporate offices, stores, hospitals, etc that must have high quality indoor air for the many people that are there daily.
The primary standard for indoor air quality has been developed in a cooperative effort between American National Standards Institute and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Commercial facility managers need to become aware of these standards so that they can implement the right technology and maintenance practices.
Facility managers should consider four factors that affect indoor air quality: filtration, air quantity, remote monitoring and control of equipment and airflow patterns.
HVAC systems play a crucial role in maintaining indoor air quality by providing heating or cooling, humidification or removal of excess humidity and controlling airborne contaminants. Building climate control systems also bring in outside air that helps control the effect of indoor emissions and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and bioeffluents emitted by those living or working in the building.
You Can’t Rely On HVAC Technology Alone
In order to maintain high indoor air quality, factors such as maintenance practices, control systems, air handlers and filters should be closely monitored. Properly maintained HVAC systems improve air quality and keep the units running at peak efficiency. Changing air filters is important to overall operation, but they also aid in the proper removal of contaminants. Control systems and air handlers must be able to properly fulfill your building’s air quality requirements or else you will risk poor airflow and a decrease in indoor air quality.
State-of-the-art monitoring systems are able to integrate well with building automation to help improve air quality. This type of HVAC technology includes sensors for temperature, humidity and VOCS. Additionally, consider low-cost carbon dioxide sensors to assure that all areas receive proper ventilation. All of these types of data provide essential information that will help managers monitor indoor air quality.