For the past several decades, much focus has been put on the design of sustainable buildings. LEED certification is sought after by building owners and facilities managers in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and keep energy costs low. More recently, there has been an increased focus on the effects of the building environment on the health of workers.

The goals of building and occupant health are not at odds with each other. Sustainable buildings are healthy buildings. One of the ways to make buildings healthier is by understanding the impact of HVAC systems on indoor air quality. Paying attention to the HVAC design and scheduling regular cleaning, maintenance, and inspections of HVAC systems are essential to improving indoor air quality.

Health Impacts to Sustainable Buildings

The COVID-19 pandemic has made building occupant safety a priority for building and facilities managers. The threat of airborne pathogens such as the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and waterborne pathogens such as the Legionella bacteria that cause Legionnaires disease has forced changes in the way we think about the health of building occupants. Legionnaires’ disease affects staff and visitors exposed to cooling towers, plumbing systems, and drinking fountains contaminated with the Legionella bacteria.

Another consequence of a failure to make buildings healthier is Sick Building Syndrome(SBS). SBS causes allergy and asthma-like symptoms in building occupants. Eye, nose, and throat irritation and fatigue are the result of SBS. As soon as an individual is out of the building these symptoms subside. SBS results in lower worker productivity and loss of revenue.

The conditions that cause SBS and that allow pathogens to develop are not always a result of negligence. In fact, They are often the result of a sustainable building being too tight or not regulating its ventilation properly. In any case, a failure to prevent these illnesses from spreading could have financial and legal consequences. The bottom line for businesses is that healthy employees are happier, more productive workers.

Our Multi-level Approach

Pure Air Control Services helps businesses improve indoor air quality using a multi-level approach that includes its PURE-Steam and PURE-Decon systems. These systems improve HVAC hygiene by reducing allergens, improving airflow and ventilation, maintaining temperature set points and cooling capacity, and improving overall energy efficiency.

PURE-Decon Improves HVAC Hygiene

PURE-Decon disinfects interior spaces, air conveyance ductwork, and HVAC equipment. This combination of services uses equipment and EPA-registered Disinfectants for Emerging Pathogens (DEP) to clean and disinfect surfaces that are difficult to reach through any other method. Handheld electrostatic DEP sprayers and misters maximize the decontamination procedure with no residue left behind. The DEPs kill 99.9% of bacteria, mold, and viruses and improves occupant well being.

The PURE-Steam Method

Pure Steam HVAC coil cleaning uses high-temperature steam to kill bacteria and mold in coils and air handling units. It pushes dust and debris through the coil which improves airflow and lowers costs. One example of how PURE-Steam saved an institution millions of dollars is when Florida State University in Tallahassee experienced IAQ issues related to dirty coils. Cleaning the coil with the foam/rinse method proved unsuccessful in removing debris. As a result, it became difficult to control temperature and humidity in the building environment. Using the PURE-Stem method resulted in a healthier environment for students, faculty, and staff. It also generated savings of over $800,000 in the first year and over $4 million in the school’s energy budget over four years. This not only provided the campus with more sustainable buildings, but healthier one as well!

PURE-Steam also greatly improved a 650-room AAA Four-Diamond resort hotel’s climate control performance and guests’ experience. This method improved performance and provided savings of over $60,000 annually to the hospitality business.

More Sustainable Healthy Buildings Solutions

The benefits of improved IAQ are healthier, more alert, and productive employees and lower rates of absenteeism. The cost savings benefits go beyond increased activity by saving companies up to 30 percent on equipment replacement costs. Equipment restoration also reduces waste and is less disruptive to workflow. Furthermore, it plays a significant role in creating sustainable buildings.

Building sustainability is about more than materials and equipment, it’s about people too. Make occupant well-being and sustainable buildings a priority and schedule a building health check or an HVAC hygiene assessment to get started today.

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