Indoor air quality remote monitoring is poised to become an industry standard in the coming years. The conventional methods to monitor baseline IAQ involve being onsite to conduct a variety of tests. Typically, building scientists and industrial hygienists are called for testing when indoor air quality conditions degrade to the point of affecting building occupants. But what if a facility manager or industrial hygienist could view real time environmental data to respond more quickly to potential issues? Now you can with IAQ Guard!
IAQ Guard is a 24/7 indoor air quality remote monitoring program. It consists of a series of remote sensors that are placed throughout different zones in the building envelope. The sensors connect via the local WIFI network to a gateway node which in-turn connects to the building’s router for internet service. The gateway aggregates data from the sensors then uploads it to an easy to read IAQ Guard remote dashboard. A unique dashboard is created for each building signed up for the service program. Building Sciences team members, as well as facility staff can access the dashboard view IAQ stats.
“We are very excited to launch this first of its kind program.” says Alan Wozniak, President and CEO of Pure Air Control Services, “Preventative maintenance through indoor air quality remote monitoring can lead to huge cost savings. IAQ Guard allows us to quickly respond to situations that can very easily escalate if they are otherwise unknown.”
How the IAQ Guard program works
The technicians from Building Sciences will evaluate the building in need of monitoring to the ensure optimal number and placement of the sensors. Then all of the sensors, the gateway and corresponding connectivity is installed. Finally, the account and dashboard are setup so that the IAQ Guard indoor air quality remote monitoring can begin. Over time data is logged and trends begin to emerge that illustrate a baseline of the buildings use. For example, Carbon Dioxide will likely rise when the space is occupied and decline after work hours.
Once the baseline is established alerts can be setup to trigger should parameters become elevated over an extended period of time. This would then queue a response call from Pure Air Control Services to notify facility management about the concern. If it appears an issue is beginning to manifest a technician from Building Sciences will be dispatched to the site for a forensic investigation. A detailed report will be supplied outline the conditions and any recommendations for remediation.
What data does it monitor?
IAQ Guard uses an electrical outlet powered all-in-one remote sensor that monitors a variety of environmental conditions. The setup is turn key and the sensor provides full operational accuracy right out of the box. The basic IAQ Guard program logs real-time data for the following:
Temperature and relative humidity
Total volatile organic compounds (TVOC)
Particulate matter (PM1.0, PM2.5, PM10, and total number of counted particle sizes)
Carbon Dioxide (CO₂) and other gases
IAQ Guard can be setup for other specific assays for an additional cost. These can include Carbon Monoxide (CO), Formaldehyde (HCHO), Hydrogen Sulfide (H₂S), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO₂), Ozone (O₃) and Sulfur Dioxide (SO₂).
Since IAQ provides indoor air quality remote monitoring in real-time there are other beneficial uses for the program beyond preventative maintenance. IAQ Guard’s reporting and record keeping can help ensure compliance for organization programs like ASHRAE, LEED, OSHA, or WELL. It can track changes in building performance and send alerts for corrective action. IAQ Guard can also reduce project liability exposure for damage to sensitive critical infrastructure.
So much emphasis is being placed on both the energy and people costs in facility operations. IAQ Guard is the ideal program to supplement energy efficiency and occupant well-being initiatives. Real-time indoor air quality remote monitoring isn’t just the wave of the future, it’s here now with Pure Air Control Services IAQ Guard program.
Pure Air Control Services, Inc, a world renown Indoor Air Quality firm, earn a CERC certification for their exemplary work in the field by demonstrating a high level of commitment and professionalism to environmental risk management.
Certified Environmentally Responsible Contractor Criteria
The CERC program was initiated by Environmental Risk Professionals, LLC to endorse a contractor’s environmental due diligence and jobsite protocols. There are two categories that qualify a contractor for a CERC. They are Best Management Practices and Cleanup Protection.
Best Management Practices
Best management practices (BMPs) were introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prevent the release of toxic and hazardous pollutants to surface waters. Adhering to EPA guidelines and implementing BMPs through training and protocols is the main consideration for CERC. These BMPs put into practice on every job mitigate common environmental, health, and safety risks while promoting pollution prevention.
Cleanup protection simply verifies the contractor’s insurance relative to environmental accidents. It ensures that should an environmental accident occur the contractor has the ability to pay for cleanups and third-party damages.
Since 1984 Indoor Air Quality has been our #1 priority. As such, we have a vast knowledge of environmental contaminants and how to handle them. We take very seriously our commitment to procedural training and jobsite safety protocols.
-Alan Wozniak, President of Pure Air Control Services, Inc.
Why Seek Out A CERC?
CERCs such as Pure Air Control Services add an extra layer of compliance and confidence to the successful outcome of a project. The certification shows that the contractor has done their due diligence to provide risk management, skilled labor and insurance protection. Not only that, utilizing a CERC contributes to sustainable communities.
Pure Air Control Services provides indoor air/environmental quality testing, building envelope studies, HVAC hygiene/performance assessments, and laboratory analysis, as well as building remediation and HVAC restoration services. Their eco-friendly PURE-Steam HVAC coil cleaning service is the only Green Clean Institute Certified process of its kind.
The company’s staff includes certified indoor air quality professionals, certified indoor environmental consultants, licensed mold inspectors/remediators, National Air Duct Cleaners Association certified technicians, and Ventilation System Mold Remediation certified technicians.
Outdoor air pollution has been widely studied and regulated for decades, but the quality of indoor air and its potential risks were little unrecognised until the early 2000s. Yet in temperate climates we can spend up to 90% of our time in closed environments (houses, schools, offices, transportation, etc.), where we may be exposed to numerous pollutants. The question of indoor air quality has therefore become a major public health concern across the globe.
Outdoor and indoor air is considered polluted when a chemical, physical or biological agent changes the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. Particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide are some of the most hazardous pollutants. Apart from pollutants entering from outdoor air, the potential sources of pollution inside buildings are manifold: fuel-burning appliances, construction materials, housekeeping products, paint, tobacco, dust mites and more.
High health and socioeconomic costs
Air pollution is one of the main environmental risks worldwide and the fourth biggest risk factor for mortality globally. It not only provokes respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, cancer, allergies and asthma, but is also indirectly linked to productivity loss (affecting comfort, workplace well-being, etc.).
Indoor air can far more polluted than outdoor air and was responsible for 3.8 million premature deaths worldwide in 2016. According to evaluations in France, indoor air quality is poor in 60% of homes, and 34% of tertiary premises—that is, one out of two offices, and three out of five classrooms—that are not equipped with an air ventilation or treatment systems. This has significant consequences for society, which must shoulder a cost of around 19 billion euros linked to premature deaths, health care expenses, productivity loss, etc. Children are among the most vulnerable, taking around 40 breaths per minute on average (as opposed to 16 in adults), meaning the quality of air in closed spaces for young people is a priority.
A study conducted by Elabe for Veolia Group on air pollution was published on World Environment Day, June 5. It surveyed thousands of citizens in France, Belgium, and Shanghai. The idea was to evaluate the general public’s level of awareness on the issue of indoor air pollution. Here is a look at the main lessons from the survey.
There’s a great story about an Air Force general and his facility manager. When being presented with a PowerPoint about some facility issues, the general stated the following:
You’re air to me.
I need you to be there, but I don’t want to see you or think about you.
I just need to know, to believe, that you’re there.
However, if I am thinking about you, then we both have a problem.
Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) is a serious problem for generals and non-generals. It is invisible to a human eye but can easily influence the health and productivity of a workforce. Studies show that air pollution-related illness results in roughly $150 billion in losses. Amazingly, the United States Environmental Protection Agency reports that the concentration of pollutants indoors is often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoors.
Better air means better decisions. Several years ago, researchers from Harvard University conducted a study to see how IAQ affects “knowledge workers.” The results showed that breathing better air led to significantly better decision-making.
Improving IAQ requires a bit of thought and commitment. Here are five actions that will make a real and noticeable difference.
1. Entrance matting: Improved IAQ can be as easy as adding entrance mats to your facility. It is a common misconception that the mats are only used to reduce risk of slips and falls. They also help prevent dirt and dust from getting into the building. It is crucial that mats throughout a building should be cleaned on a regular basis. Dirty mats only help spread pollutants in the facility.
2. Vacuuming frequencies: While it is clear that carpets serve to trap dust, walking over a dirty carpet actually contributes to the elevation of dust and other pollutants into the air. This is especially dangerous for vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, people with asthma and individuals with difficulties breathing. It is key to employ proper vacuuming frequencies which vary depending on a facility’s size. It is also important to ensure that the cleaning crew uses the HEPA vacuums and commonly accepted cleaning practices.
3. Dusting practices: Dusting seems a very straightforward task at first thought. However, it is crucial that employees use proper equipment and techniques. Otherwise, they risk simply scattering the dust without any significant improvement to the surface. It is important that the cleaning crew uses a microfiber cloth which absorbs the dust and minimizes escaped particles. With a microfiber cloth there is no need to use any chemicals; a great benefit to tenants with allergies to chemicals.
4. HVAC maintenance: Maintenance of HVAC systems is a key factor to ensure healthy IAQ. If a company doesn’t have enough resources to invest in the new HVAC systems, there are other solutions to consider. For example, they can use an older system but increase the frequency of filter replacement. Another solution is to consider more effective filter options. However, the biggest problem in the industry is the lack of HVAC technicians. Many trade schools report their programs being under enrolled. This results in a decreasing supply of HVAC professionals. It may seem like an easy task to change a filter, but it becomes quite a challenge when there is not a specialist available to do it. This causes many facility teams to postpone their scheduled preventative maintenance for indefinite periods of time.
5. Cleaning of non-traditional surfaces: Today many businesses prefer to occupy the so-called “modern” office with the exposed pipes in the ceilings and other attributes resembling a city loft atmosphere. Those designs look trendy and attract younger employees. However, it is important to keep in mind that those nontraditional surfaces often require unique cleaning procedures as well. Otherwise, they end up being the biggest (and the fanciest) dust collectors in the building.
It is essential that industry professionals educate their customers on the impact cleaning services have on the productivity in the workplace. This is an impact that can be as important as the air we breathe.
Holistic HVAC hygiene is a common sense, proactive maintenance concept. It demonstrates how each component of an HVAC system works together to provide fresh air exchange and temperature control in a building. A single component being compromised can have a chain effect on the rest of the system and impact building health. Let’s take a brief look at how holistic HVAC hygiene can be tested and maintained.
Basic HVAC Function & Design
The HVAC system is designed to provide heating, ventilation and cooling to a building. Hence the acronym “HVAC”. Think of it like the respiratory system of the building. In the most basic sense the ventilation part of the HVAC system consists of the air handler units (AHU), ductwork, and sometimes variable air volume (VAV) boxes within the ducts. The AHU has dampers, return plenums, filters, evaporator coils, heating coils, drain pans, fans, motors, insulation and supply plenums. Holistic HVAC hygiene accounts for the cleanliness of all of these components at a systemic level. Deficiencies in any of these areas quickly compound throughout the system and affect Indoor Air Quality.
Measurement & Verification
There are a couple of ways to get insights on holistic HVAC hygiene. Often times HVAC maintenance, including duct cleaning is deferred. However, the old adage “Out of sight, out of mind” is not always the case. Occupants, in many cases, are the first to report HVAC hygiene or IAQ issues by observation. Odors, degraded comfort, and an influx in allergies while in a building can all indicate a problem with the HVAC system. Occupant complaints should be taken seriously and act as a catalyst for professional IAQ testing.
True visibility into holistic HVAC hygiene is provided by measurement and verification testing. Building Sciences at Pure Air Control Services conducts indoor air and environmental testing for HVAC systems.
The HVAC Hygiene Assessment investigates both cleanliness and performance criteria and reports on the conditions. The system is visually inspected then air and surface samples are collected from the different components. These samples are then analyzed by our Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory for microbial and other factors like bacteria, mold and particulates. Performance data like differential pressure, total air supply in cubic feet per minute, temperature differential, cooling output, relative humidity and more is collected to determine the system’s impact on the building. When significant problems are found, recommendations for correction are made.
Remote IAQ Monitoring
Another way to keep an eye on the holistic HVAC hygiene conditions is with the IAQ Guard real-time monitoring program. IAQ Guard is a set of wireless remote sensors placed throughout a building’s HVAC zones. These sensors continuously monitor specific IAQ parameters like temperature, humidity, CO2, particulates, and VOC. The real-time data is sent via a node to a cloud-based dashboard that Building Sciences uses to detect trends and anomalies in the building envelope. If any of the monitored parameters trend outside of normal baseline conditions an alert is sent, and corrective action can be taken before the situation worsens. IAQ Guard is great for ongoing proactive monitoring and is also used in conjunction with sensitive remediation or construction projects.
Holistic HVAC Hygiene Maintenance
Maintaining the HVAC system needs to be a number one priority for facility managers. After all, it is the number one factor affecting building and occupant health. Building Remediation Sciences at Pure Air Control Services provides a suite of engineered solutions to keep your building’s HVAC system in great shape!
PURE-Duct is an IAQ driven duct cleaning service. It is performed with maximum containment to minimize the risk of cross contamination. A high attention to detail is not only paid to cleaning ductwork, but also other inline components such as VAV boxes, reheat coils and smoke detectors.
PURE-Steam is a Green Clean Institute certified solution that disinfects the entire AHU and deeply cleans HVAC coils. There have been many white papers and case studies published about its efficacy. PURE-Steam effectively eliminates microbes and restores operational efficiency.
HVAC New Life adds antimicrobial coatings, drain pan liners and closed cell insulation with PURE-Steam to restore aging AHU’s for additional years of service. It can be procured with CAPEX and far more cost effective than new replacement.
The combination of these routine cleaning services and IAQ testing/monitoring ensure optimal holistic HVAC hygiene. It not only benefits building occupants but also the bottom line.
For more information on IAQ testing or our engineered solutions please call 1-800-422-7873 or contact us here.
Pure Air Control Services, Inc. leader and innovator for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) services has opened a new northeast office to better serve their customers’ needs in that region of the United States. The new King of Prussia office will be managed by building scientist, Karl Stefan. Karl has been with Pure Air Control Services since 2017. He is a Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC) with The American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC) and has conduct numerous building investigations over the years for Pure Air Control Services.
Pure Air Control Services provides IAQ and energy saving engineered solutions through its three highly specialized divisions.
Building Sciences conducts indoor environmental investigations to identify potential threats. They can test for very specific IAQ complaints or evaluate the entire building envelope for any deficiencies.
Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) provides microbiological analysis to support Building Sciences assessments. They also serve other industrial hygienists and clients who have an in-house environmental team. EDLab is CDC Elite Program and New York State Department of Health ELAP (#12086) certified for Legionella testing. They offer quick turnaround for Legionella testing using state-of-the-art molecular testing methods.
Building Remediation Sciences (BRS) offers innovative and propriety services to restore optimal IAQ. BRS is a highly trained team of NADCA certified mechanical technicians and mold remediators. The main services they provide are PURE-Duct hygienic cleaning, PURE-Steam HVAC/Coil Cleaning, PURE-Decon building/room disinfection and HVAC New Life hygienic restoration.
Human beings spend 90% of the time indoors and breathe about 3,000 gallons of air a day! Everyone needs good IAQ! Recent studies have shown that optimal IAQ improves employee productivity. Not to mention, fouled HVAC equipment leads to decreases in energy efficiency!
Pure Air Control Services has a vast array of experience with all levels of governmental agencies (including military bases), K-12 school districts, higher education institutions, healthcare facilities and commercial properties. Now these types of customers can access professional IAQ services through the northeast office.
To ease the procurement process Pure Air Controls also has cooperative purchasing contracts through E&I and TIPS, as well as a federal GSA Contract.
King of Prussia Northeast Office
Pure Air Control Services northeast office is designed to serve all of Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
The new northeast office is located at 630 Business Drive, 3rd Floor, Suite 5, King of Prussia, PA 19406. The direct phone number is (610) 768-7716 or toll free at 1-800-422-7873. This office will be available for on-site meetings and presentations. Mr. Stefan will also be traveling throughout the territory calling on customers for IAQ testing and consulting, as well as educating with presentations and lunch and learns.