A 2015 Rutgers University study looked at whether green building tax credits and compliance with certification programs contributed positively to improving indoor air quality in green buildings and its relation to occupant health. Over the course of five years, researchers measured indoor air quality at a residential high-rise complex, using an industrial hygiene contractor to conduct annual air quality assessments. It compared these measurements to conventionally-built residential buildings, following New York’s Green Building Tax Credit (GBTC) and Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) requirements.
In Australia, aerosol scientist Lidia Morawska works with a device the size of a shoe that measures carbon dioxide in the environment, visiting restaurants, offices, schools, and other buildings to determine how well-ventilated they are. Outside, the monitor typically reads just over 400 parts per million (ppm), though areas with more traffic or industrial activity tend to have somewhat higher levels. When indoors, her readings sometimes shoot up to as high as 2000 ppm, even in buildings that seem well-ventilated.
Health, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality are topics of concern for facilities managers—especially amid extreme weather conditions, pandemics, and emergency situations. Indoor air pollution (IAP), air particulate matter, and extreme hot and cold temperatures can affect the quality of our time spent indoors and even be harmful to our health. As facilities managers, you need to provide solutions for building owners, occupants, and tenants so that the health and comfort of their indoor spaces isn’t one more thing on the list to worry about. That’s why we’ve put together some simple suggestions for how to improve the thermal comfort and air quality of your building.