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Perfecting Your IAQ Management Plan & Checklist

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Laura Miller

An indoor air quality (IAQ) management plan is invaluable for protecting the health of building occupants. Since 2020, such plans have become more important and more prevalent than ever before, and forward-thinking building owners are turning to innovative technologies for help. Automated smart systems that monitor and analyze air quality make it easier to implement robust IAQ management plans and quickly identify and resolve issues. This means safer buildings and healthier people.

Making an IAQ Management Plan Checklist

Over the past decade, indoor air quality has become an increasingly hot topic. A growing body of research shows that IAQ is directly related to health and wellness, sustainability, and productivity. As a result, many building owners already understand the need for basic IAQ management. Now, Covid-19 has put IAQ in the spotlight as never before and is spurring new strategies for effectively and affordably maintaining safety in built environments. 

IAQ is influenced by a host of factors, from the materials in your building to the activities happening outside it. 

Basic items to add to your IAQ management plan checklist: 

  • Ensure ventilation units work and outdoor air intakes are unobstructed. 
  • Inspect HVAC units regularly. 
  • Maintain humidity and temperature within acceptable ranges. 
  • Examine plumbing stacks and exhaust outlets to make sure they flow away from outdoor air intakes. 
  • Use harsh chemicals only when rooms are unoccupied or adequately ventilated.
  • Use green cleaning products and practices. 
  • Check potential external sources of nearby air pollution, such as factories, chimneys, and exhaust from other buildings.
  • Place dumpsters away from outdoor air intakes, including doors, and windows. 
  • Keep on top of radon testing. 
  • Ensure equipment used to maintain the building is kept serviced and maintained. 
  • Ensure proper drainage for rain runoff. 
  • Keep the roof in good condition.
  • Address mildew or mold growth. 
  • Avoid vehicles idling near air intakes.
  • Minimize pesticide usage. 
  • Address leaks or water damage. 
  • Verify exhaust fans in restrooms work. 

To go beyond the basics:

  • Increase mechanical and natural ventilation from outside to naturally improve IAQ. 
  • Control pathways that allow pollutants to more easily spread, such as elevator shafts, stairwells, and empty areas within walls.  
  • Use MERV filters rated 13 or higher within building ventilation systems.
  • Use portable HEPA filter units in localized areas to supplement your IAQ filtration strategy. 
  • Create negative pressure environments to isolate areas within a building and limit the movement of airborne pathogens through the ventilation system. 
  • Install smart devices to identify pollutants.
  • Implement 4-6 air changes per hour (ACH) to eliminate pathogens, using both recirculated and outside air. 
  • Use ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) to inactivate airborne pathogens. 


Checklists should be customized to deal with specific aspects of a particular built environment. 

Increased costs related to these strategies may be offset by other strategies, such as improving a building’s envelope, using recovery ventilators, and implementing efficiency-focused automation.

Smart IAQ Management

Smart technologies are expanding the possibilities of IAQ management plans. A centralized building automation system (BAS) integrated with smart devices and analytics monitors IAQ continuously and in real time. This means you can be instantly alerted when IAQ drops below acceptable levels and corrective action can be taken as early as possible, often, automatically. But a smart BAS does more than correct issues when they occur; it prevents them from occurring in the first place. 

An advanced analytics platform gives you deep insight into building conditions and shows you where to focus your efforts when creating an IAQ management plan. It allows you to see the relationships between variables like occupancy, temperature, season, equipment functionality, building maintenance, and air quality. Just as importantly, the analytics platform learns this information too and can trigger automatic equipment adjustments in response to both real-time and predicted conditions. For example, ventilation can increase in anticipation of occupancy, and filtration systems can turn on as meeting rooms fill up. 

Advanced analytics also improves building maintenance. A platform with state-of-the-art fault detection and diagnostics ensures suboptimal equipment performance is identified and rectified, often before it affects environmental conditions. This makes your building more resilient and enhances your ability to effectively manage IAQ.

With an intelligent, analytics-driven BAS, creating and maintaining healthy buildings is easier than ever before. 

Buildings IOT offers innovative products and services that make your IAQ management plan easier to develop and implement. To learn more, contact our team of experts today.

 

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