Indoor air quality has been top-of-mind during the pandemic. When it comes time to take action buildings tend to 1) turn up the ventilation 2) install air cleaning equipment, or 3) install indoor air quality (IAQ) monitors.
These action-oriented activities sound great, but they’re all missing something, or should I say someone.
An IAQ consultant can evaluate building health, identify areas needing attention, and come up with a strategy to correct any problems.
So you want to turn up the ventilation? That is a noble cause, but it might lead to concerning levels of relative humidity both in the summer (too high) and winter (too low). The additional ventilation may lead to uncomfortable occupants who entirely block off supply diffusers, making matters worse. Hiring a knowledgeable IAQ consultant can help balance competing interests in comfort, energy use, and indoor air quality.
So you want to install air cleaning equipment? Maybe you heard of buildings installing UV lights, bipolar ionization, or devices generating hydroxyl radicals & hydrogen peroxide. Inevitably these devices will all claim to be 99.9% efficient at removing a particular organism in a laboratory setting. However, manufacturers are not known for providing a balanced view of their technology. A knowledgeable IAQ consultant will cut through the marketing fluff and provide real guidance for using air cleaning equipment to supplement outdoor air ventilation.
So you want to install IAQ monitors to see what’s in the air? We support monitoring IAQ, but you have many decisions to make, including which monitors to buy, how many to buy, where to place them, and how to interpret the results. Without a strategy in place, IAQ monitors become another piece of ignored tech next to the thermostat. A knowledgeable IAQ consultant will help guide the selection and setup of monitors on the front end, and help respond to any issues once they are running.
We understand it is easy for buildings to address indoor air quality by buying “stuff”. This is similar to someone buying nutritional supplements in an effort to get healthy. The path to good indoor air quality is much like the path to good health—it requires a holistic evaluation rather than a silver bullet.
If you’re a building owner, property manager or tenant wanting to improve indoor air quality, the best decision is identifying a partner that has your best interest in mind. An IAQ consultant can ensure you are taking a holistic approach, considering unintended consequences, and following the latest scientific research.
The IAQA and AIHA are great places to find independent IAQ consultants like Indoor Science.
A consultant’s product is their knowledge and independence.