Cooperative Purchasing Makes Indoor Air Quality & HVAC Services Immediately Available

IAQ Cooperative purchasing

What is cooperative purchasing and how does it work?

What is one hurdle every company must jump when selling to a governmental agency? Price. You could have the best bid package and offer the best service or product but there is always concerns on the side of the purchasing agent.  That is where cooperative (co-op) purchasing agreements help ease deal. Co-op purchasing helps public agencies to have a little more flexibility in procuring goods and services, and greatly reduces administrative time and expenses. Essentially, it’s a bridge for the member agency to get the best price or value and delivery from a pre-bid vendor. Co-op purchasing vehicles also provide a vetting process of the vendor and compliance to give an extra layer of trust for the procuring agency. Think of it as a pre-bid or piggybacking contract rather than no bid contract. Cooperative purchasing offers the ability to save time, money, and frustration by the sharing of contract resources within the co-op member base.

The benefits of using cooperative purchasing

Cooperative purchasing eliminates the need to write bids over and over. This saves time by removing the request for proposal process, which can normally be a lengthy process. Sometimes 60-90 days! It reduces the paper work and layers of review that can take months to complete. This will have a direct positive effect on cost savings for the procuring agency. A co-op removes the stress of the job being completed in a timely manner while guaranteeing it’s done by a capable and trustworthy approved vendor. This provides greater efficiency for acquiring services. If there is an immediate indoor air quality (IAQ) issue, for example, it can be addressed without the need to go through an arduous bid and review process.

Another benefit is that there is no or little cost to participating members, depending on the specific cooperative agency. A co-op also enables members to use the professional service that is highly specific or proprietary to their needs. Pure Air Control Services offers PURE-Steam coil cleaning, and HVAC New Life Restoration which are state-of-the-art IAQ and energy saving services that are readily available to those agency members in the cooperative purchasing group.

Cooperative Contracts with Pure Air Control Services Inc.

Higher Education and K-12
E and I LogoPure Air Control Services has teamed up with Educational & Institutional Cooperative Purchasing (E&I) Contract no. CNR01446
Educational & Institutional Cooperative Services (E&I) is a not-for-profit buying cooperative established by members of the National Association of Educational Procurement (NAEP). The cooperative is owned by its membership of more than 1,800 colleges, universities, and K-12 educational institutions throughout the United States.

K-12
PAEC LogoPanhandle Area Education Consortium (PAEC) and their Florida Buy Program contract no. 18-05
PAEC partners with the Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies (AEPA) to leverage the purchasing power of schools in more than half the country ease the procurement of our IAQ testing and remediation services. This agency features contracts that are available to all Florida schools, municipalities, country government, colleges, and universities, and non-profit organizations.

City, County and State Governments
TIPS LogoThe Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS) contract no. 170602 and 170702
The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS) contracts simplify the purchasing process for governmental agencies to procure our IAQ Consultation and remediation services. TIPS has over a decade of experience providing effective and economical purchasing activity for any government entities.

Pure Air Control Services, Inc. can provide IAQ services through our contracts with these agencies to assist city, county, state and federal governments, along with schools and universities with identifying baseline IAQ/Energy conditions and providing specific, definitive remedial recommendations to improve building health and efficiency.

Article Original Source: http://pureaircontrols.com/cooperative-purchasing-indoor-air-quality-services-immediately/

Ashley parents meet with district, elected officials for information on air quality

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As students, parents and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools prepare for summer break, discussions continue about the indoor air quality of an East Winston elementary school.

District administrators and a handful of Board of Education members sat down Monday with parents at Ashley Academy for Cultural and Global Studies to discuss air-quality concerns and what school officials plan to do about them.

Steps have been taken by the board to help improve the school building’s air quality before the new school year, but some in the community have publicly called for further action in the form of a new school building they feel is overdue.

The purpose of Monday’s meetings was to sit down with parents and answer any questions or address concerns they had about the subject.

“They have a plan in place I think that will bring the school up to where it needs to be come August,” said Renee Hairston, who has a grandson at Ashley.

Earlier this semester, concerns about the indoor air quality at the school were expressed to administration and the board.

Two air-quality reports prior to that showed low levels of indoor mold spores.

But a new report released in April showed evidence of mold growth in some HVAC units, and recommended replacing or cleaning the units.

According to the Center for Disease Control’s website, mold can cause allergy and respiratory infections, and worsen conditions such as asthma, for those sensitive to it.

The board voted in early May to go ahead with replacing units during the summer months at a total cost of $1.585 million.

School board member Elisabeth Motsinger said the meeting Monday was positive. “I think it was good to hear directly from parents what their concerns were and to be able to answer their questions with reliable, good and accurate information,” she said.

Hairston said that if she didn’t think the school and the district were taking the right steps, she would not have her grandson return to Ashley next fall.

“But I think they’re taking the right steps,” she said. “They’re doing as much as they can until they get the funds on the referendum to replace the school. So I think they’re doing OK.”

At the May 22 board meeting, a group of concerned citizens under the name #Action4Ashley had a large presence and spoke during public comment, saying they felt not enough attention has been given to Ashley and the air quality. Many asked that funds be moved around in the 2016 bond to speed up the process of designing and building a new Ashley school building.

Article Source: https://www.journalnow.com/news/local/ashley-parents-meet-with-district-elected-officials-for-information-on/article_56f1b024-0ab0-52d7-8863-3401e79a10b7.html

The Truth about Mold: Preventing Summertime Risks and Beyond

Mold is a common household nuisance and is found both inside and outside in varying amounts. For some people, mold and its spores cause very few problems, while for others it can be devastating—even life threatening. In the U.S., there are over two million children with chronic and other serious conditions that are at higher risk for the dangers that mold in their homes and schools can cause. This is due to their weakened immune systems that leave them more susceptible to infection and allow mold to have a more harmful impact. As many as one-third of the children in the U.S., including those who are considered to be “healthy,” are at risk for allergic reactions to mold. Babies that have been exposed to mold, even without incident, may be at a higher risk for developing allergies and even asthma as they get older, which is why mold exposure can be damaging even if no negative symptoms are immediately detected.

Symptoms of mold allergies are typically similar to those of other allergies, which can make it harder to determine the cause. These include sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, wheezing, and coughing. However, symptoms can escalate to more serious problems such as respiratory and circulatory issues. Mold flourishes in warm, damp environments, which is why warm summer temperatures frequently stir up mold allergies. Make sure to stock the medicine cabinet with the appropriate tools and treatments for babies and small children in order to be prepared to treat any symptoms.

t is important for local health departments to take steps to educate families in their area on this issue to prevent easily avoidable dangers. The remainder of this blog include valuable tips and resources on mitigating health risks related to mold exposure.

Stopping Mold Before It Grows

Prevention is always easier than treatment, especially with mold. Once it gets started, some molds are more difficult to control and may require additional treatments and work. Local health departments should educate their community members on taking the following preventative measures to reduce health risks associated with mold exposure.

Reduce humidity in the home:

  • Because mold thrives in warm and wet conditions, try to keep dampness to a minimum. Install a dehumidifier if necessary. Open windows for ventilation, but close them when there are reports of higher humidity levels.

Household plants:

  • Keep houseplants to a minimum in rooms that may be at higher risk of mold growth, such as rooms with high moisture levels and low ventilation.
  • This is especially important in rooms that do not get visited often, such as the basement, where signs of mold growth can go undetected for longer periods of time.

Bathroom:

  • Do not use carpeting in the bathroom, especially with children. Use washable mats or a towel on the floor instead. Dry the floor as soon as possible.
  • Bathrooms are particularly vulnerable to mold growth, because they often do not have windows, which makes ventilating the damp area more difficult. If there is a window, open it often to dry out the bathroom.
  • If there is an exhaust fan in the bathroom, turn it on as soon as the bath is done so that the room gets dried up quickly.
  • Other common areas for mold growth include the shower curtain and around the bathtub and the sinks.

Kitchen:

  • Any appliances that require water are common places for leaks and mold growth. Be sure to inspect under refrigerators, icemakers, dishwashers, coffee makers, etc.

Pipes/ Drainage:

  • Repair any leaking pipes. Clean up any water immediately and use a fan to make sure that any moisture is dried.
  • Increase the drainage away from the house to protect against leaks.

Summer Toys: The Perfect Hiding Spot for Mold

Pool, bath, and teething toys are breeding grounds for mold, because they can hold a lot of moisture and harbor mold growth undetected for long periods of time. Local health departments should provide the following prevention and treatment tips to limit mold exposure for children engaging in summertime activities and during bath time.

Pool toys:

  • During summer months, kids are playing with many moisture-laden toys to keep cool such as pool noodles, water guns, absorbent animals and balls, and all sorts of inflatable pool toys. Make sure these and other water-friendly toys are squeezed out and left out to dry before storing them after use.
  • Eliminate the risk by using alternative toys such as measuring cups, stacking blocks, and other items without places for water to hide. The advantage of these toys is the ability to toss them directly in the dishwasher after swimming or a bath.

Pool garments:

  • Swimsuits and towels are also used and re-used frequently in the summertime. Do not leave either of these sitting in a ball somewhere. It is important to pick them up and spread them out in a ventilated or breeze spot so they can completely dry out before use.
  • Be sure to regularly wash suits, towels, and any other damp clothing.

Bath toys:

  • For regular bath toys, one option is to plug the small holes with water-resistant glue. This keeps them from squeaking and/or shooting water but keeps them mold free.
  • Boil bath toys about once a week, and allow them to air dry completely.
  • Soak toys in white vinegar overnight to clean them. The vinegar odor will dissipate as it dries.

Teething toys:

  • Teething toys can also harbor moisture for mold to grow. Squeeze all of the water or drool out of rubber or mesh teething toys and clean them using a damp cloth.
  • Teething and bath toys can be run through the sanitize cycle on the dishwasher and then allowed to air dry.

A Surprising Source of Mold

One of the most surprising sources of mold problems can be found in children’s sippy cups/water bottles, used increasingly often during summer months as a source of hydration. Many people do not completely disassemble sippy cups when they are cleaning them, greatly increasing the potential for mold growth. Local health departments should provide the following cleaning steps for sippy cups/ water bottles to minimize and eliminate mold growth:

Sippy cups:

  • If there is a rubber or plastic ring on the lid of the sippy cup, make sure to pull it out and rinse under it carefully.
  • Look for sippy cups with solid, one-piece lids, but make sure to clean the spout or drinking straw as well.
  • All of the cups and parts can be washed in the dishwasher. Make sure that everything is completely dry before reassembling them.

Water bottles:

  • Disposable water bottles should not be reused, not only because of the risk of mold but because the plastic can leach into the water and can be harmful to a child’s health.
  • Metal water bottles are good because they keep drinks cooler and are easy to sanitize in the dishwasher.
  • Whenever in doubt over whether mold was completely cleaned from a toy, it is best to be safe and throw it out.

The Critical Role of Local Health Departments

Families with young children should be able to enjoy cooling off in the summer heat risk-free. Unfortunately, many parents and guardians are unaware of the hidden dangers that lurk in the nooks and crannies of their child’s toys. As a result, it is vital that local health departments provide ongoing and visible guidance to highlight the various health risks associated with mold and how to protect their child from exposure. For example, local health officials can disseminate the facts and tips included in this blog via their websites and social media pages, or by engaging in traditional community outreach (e.g., distributing pamphlets, one-pagers).

Asbestos exposure at West Los Angeles apartment complex leaves 15 people displaced

 

The Hidden Post Hurricane Health Dangers Lurking Beyond Structural Damage

Hurricane Irma ripped across the Florida peninsula causing widespread damage and power outages. The Department of Homeland Security estimated that immediately after the storm over 15 million Floridian were without electricity. That is 3 out of 4 state residents were dark! Businesses, hospitals and schools have been closed due to a lack of power. In fact, over 35 hospitals across Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina were either forced evacuate or shut down. But the final statistics are far from tallied as it could be weeks until electricity is restored and the areas affected are properly assessed for post hurricane health dangers.

One thing is certain, post hurricane health dangers from building damage with water intrusion, flooding, and lack of operational HVAC, including temperature/humidity control poses health risks to building occupants when they return.

As interior dampness and humidity rise there are several environmental factors that can affect building heath. Even after a building structure has been physically recovered from water damage, occupant health issues can still linger. Though everything may appear visually restored, the interstitial side of a building’s structure might yet be teeming with chemical residue and/or microbial growth. Musty odors or discoloration of interior walls and other places are a primary indicator that microbial remediation is needed. If the discoloration is in multiple places, it is of even more concern as the interstitial sides could be 100 times greater than what is visibly seen.

Even if the building sustained no damage but was without power for an extended period, post hurricane health dangers can still be ongoing. If the building’s HVAC system is down for time then temperature and humidity levels sharply rise creating an ideal ecosystem for mold growth. Once electricity is restored and the HVAC system is brought back online that mold, other hazardous microbes, and volatile organic compounds, as well as degraded fiberglass insulation can be distributed throughout the ductwork to the entire building. There is medical and scientific consensus that this situation poses a health risk to occupants.

Post hurricane health dangers hidden from visual detection can include:
• Fungal/Mold Growth
• Bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, Legionella, etc.
• Volatile Organic Compounds

Professional evaluation, testing, and laboratory analysis is often needed to better identify the extent of water related damage, ongoing environmental conditions, HVAC cleanliness and other post hurricane health dangers that might be hiding in an affected building. Environmental air, bulk, liquid, and surface samples should be collected from the affected areas for bacterial, chemical, and mold laboratory analysis. The environmental test results are critical to determine the microbial/chemical propagation, as well as to facilitate remedial action or justify decision making for any remedial measures.

Hiring an Indoor Environmental Testing Firm to evaluate the ambient conditions of the structure, the HVAC system, interstitial wall cavities, the building’s envelope and more data points can determine the cause(s) of specific health concerns and provide the groundwork for remedial action.

Another option to get started finding post hurricane health dangers in a building is economical DIY test kits. There are different types of kits available, such as the evalu-aire kit, that can be used to collect environmental samples for laboratory analysis. Microbial samples can be tested by using culture or non-culture based methods. If elevated levels microbes or VOCs are reported, then it is best to consult with an indoor environmental professional for a more comprehensive evaluation, analysis and remedial recommendations.

The Department of Homeland 0Security and FEMA issued a Major Disaster Declarationon September 10, 2017 for the state of Florida. DHS acting director Elaine Duke stated nearly 22,000 federal personnel are in Florida to assist in the recovery.

“A storm of this magnitude needs a team effort” Ms. Duke said, “to handle the long and challenging road ahead”.

Pure Air Control Services can provide disaster recovery assistance through its federal General Services Administration (GSA) contract (#GS10-F-0488R) to assist city, county, state and federal governments (including schools) by identifying baseline mold/IAQ conditions and providing specific, definitive remedial recommendations.

Alan Wozniak, President and CEO of Pure Air Control Services said “Normally, our federal contracts are limited to federal agencies. However, since President Trump has declared Texas a disaster area, Pure Air’s federal contract can now be used by city, county and state agencies since under this declaration, federal aid is available to such entities.”

Pure Air Control Services, Inc., can also be easily utilized for emergency IEQ testing and response services with TIPS Interlocal Purchasing System sourcing and Panhandle Area Education Consortium, Florida Buy program for governmental agencies. Building Health Check, LLC, products, such as the evalu-aire DIY test kit, can also be procured using the TIPS vehicle.

You can contact the Building Scientists at Pure Air Control Services for a professional evaluation of your building or home at 1-800-422-7873 ext. 802 or for the DIY evalu-aire contact 1-800-422-7873 ext. 404 or visit IndoorAirTest.com.

About Pure Air Control Services
Pure Air Control Services, Inc. was established in 1984 as a small, mechanical, contracting firm and has since set the industry standard for indoor environmental quality diagnosis, environmental laboratory and remediation. Pure Air Control Services has serviced more than 600 million square feet of indoor environments in over 10,000 facilities. Pure Air’s nationally performed services include: Building Sciences Evaluation; Building Health Check; a CDC ELITE Environmental Microbiology Laboratory; Environmental Project Management; HVAC New Life Restoration and PURE-Steam Coil Cleaning/Mold Remediation Services, among other indoor environmental services. Article Source: http://pureaircontrols.com/post-hurricane-health-dangers-lurking/

What’s in your building’s air?

whats in your buildings air

Human beings are creatures of habit. We all have certain likes and dislikes. One thing most folks can agree on is the preference to be comfortable while at work or leisure when indoors. Temperature and ventilation certainly play big roles in making the indoor environment comfortable. It’s common to notice changes in temperature and adjust the thermostat to maintain comfort. But detecting humidity, oxygen levels, and indoor air quality issues isn’t always as easy. Headaches, stuffy sinuses and feeling tired might very well be related to the air you breathe. What’s in your building’s air?

Studies conducted by the EPA and Harvard among others have found that humans spend 90% of their time indoors within shared spaces. Some studies have even shown that indoor environments can have higher levels of pollutants than what can be found outside. Many of the indoor pollutants either originate in or can be picked up and redistributed by the building HVAC system.

Under normal operating and maintenance conditions the HVAC system can monitor and correct for a multitude of IAQ conditions in your building’s air. But as maintenance is deferred, the air handing unit can become fouled, foster microbial growth, and begin to under perform, eventually breaking down. It is estimated that a little as 3/16 of an inch of dirt lodged in between the fins across an evaporator coil can decrease the efficiency of the unit by 21%!

Other factors, besides the HVAC system, like new office equipment, furniture, renovations and even additional employees can have a negative impact on IAQ as well.

Luckily, the EPA provides a guide to better understand indoor air quality and what can be done to maintain and improve it. “An Office Building Occupant’s Guide to Indoor Air Quality can be viewed here.

A closer look at indoor pollutants.

When examining the pollutants that can affect indoor air quality there are three main categories to consider: biological contaminants, chemicals/gases and particles.

Biological Contaminants
Biological contaminants such as bacteria, fungi (including molds), dust mites, animal dander and pollen can all affect building health. A properly maintained and cleaned HVAC is key to minimizing the growth and distribution of biological contaminants throughout the building. Bacteria and mold can flourish inside of a cool and damp air handling unit. Typically, a musty odor is associated with microbial growth. If excessive concentrations are left unchecked an entire host of health related issues including asthma and allergies can occur.

Chemicals and Gases
Emissions from products used in the building can also contribute to indoor air quality issues. Everything from cleaning products to office equipment like copy machines can put harmful compounds into air, this includes gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. Monitoring ventilation rates and controls is important. It is crucial to have a healthy mix of fresh outdoor air exchanged with the indoor air to maintain optimal quality.

Particles
Particulates like dust, dirt, paper fibers or other substances can be brought into a building from outside or produced by activities, like printing, that happen inside of the facility. Good housekeeping and proper filtration can alleviate most particulate issues. Remember, filtration should be designed to fit the specific environment and building use.

OSHA goes into detail about these categories and IAQ management in their guide located here.

Be Proactive and Vigilant

Always stay on top of HVAC maintenance and cleaning. Regular hygienic cleaning, like Pure Air Control Service’s PURE-Steam, can prevent IAQ issues emanating from the HVAC system. PURE-Steam is a high temperature, low pressure, cleaning service that kills microbial growth and flushes dirt from deep within the evaporator coils. It can improve overall system performance and cleanliness. Beyond the HVAC system, Pure Air Control Services also provides PURE-Decon room disinfection, that utilizes a hydrogen peroxide and silver mist to get rid of bacteria, fungi and viruses.

If you have never cleaned your HVAC system then IAQ testing would be a good first step to determining any potential issues. Even a simple HVAC Hygienic Assessment can be helpful in looking at the cleanliness and performance of the system regarding building health and energy efficiency.

Finally, be in-tune with your building’s occupants. Pay attention to common health complaints and where they are concentrated. These complaints are often the frontline in the IAQ battle, and provide early detection to get out in front of any issues before they get worse.

Understanding how IAQ is connected to your HVAC system is a critical step in developing a maintenance plan for the optimal health, comfort and energy efficiency of your building. Article Source: http://pureaircontrols.com/whats-in-your-buildings-air/