In our recent blog, “Top Hazards of Dust in the Workplace,” we explore the many health threats posed by lingering dust particles in your work environment, including allergies, respiratory issues, the spread of disease, and even lung cancer. Indeed, an office’s indoor air quality (IAQ) plays a major role in the overall health and happiness of everyone inside, so maintaining clean internal air should be a priority for your business, especially if you’re planning for (or have recently undergone) an office reopening. Here are some key ways to achieve cleaner air in your office building this spring and beyond.
As temperatures rise, your office building will have more opportunities to allow fresh air inside. The frequency with which you open up your windows and doors will depend on the weather, but it’s a good idea to take advantage of temperate days to increase your air circulation and cut down on energy costs. If and when you do let the outside air in, just be mindful of springtime allergens such as pollen, as these can negatively affect those with certain sensitivities -- use proper screens to prevent these allergens from getting inside and shut your windows and doors when rain is on the way to prevent moisture from gaining entry.
Even the best HVAC systems have shelf lives, and if you haven’t updated yours in a long time, you might want to invest in new components or a new system entirely. At the very least, consider installing new, higher-quality air filters. At The Budd Group, we recommend that offices implement air filters with MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) ratings of at least 13, as these are more effective at capturing smaller particles. Keeping tiny particles at bay is important in its own right for improvement overall IAQ, but it’s even more essential these days as workplaces attempt to combat COVID-19. MERV 13+ air filters contribute to air disinfection for coronavirus by keeping COVID-carrying particles from lingering in the air. Regardless of the electrostatic air filter you use, note that it should be replaced about every 6-12 months.
If you want to get cleaner air in your office, it helps to be able to see hard data day in and day out. This is where personal air quality meters come in handy. These meters gauge the IAQ in a given space via electronic sensors, measuring the air’s particulates, chemical pollutants, humidity levels, and more. By keeping tabs on your IAQ with the aid of these tools, you can determine the efficacy of your efforts to achieve cleaner air and adjust/maintain your strategy accordingly.
To maintain clean indoor air, you must maintain clean indoor surfaces. Dirt, dust, and other contaminants will accumulate on top of various surfaces in your office building over time. It’s imperative for you and your janitorial cleaning services to dust, clean, and sanitize these surfaces on a regular basis to minimize the number of particulates and pollutants in the air. Everything from office furniture, keyboards, ceilings, etc., must be accounted for. Additionally, air vents and ducts require regular cleaning to ensure proper ventilation.
Placing plants around your office is a great way to brighten up the place’s atmosphere, but doing so has practical benefits as well. As you may know, plants take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen -- indeed, we’d all have a hard time breathing without flora. While keeping plants in your office isn’t necessary for maintaining proper oxygen levels or anything, indoor plants can make us breathe easier, in no small part because they also absorb certain toxins in the air. Now that the season of renewal has arrived, there’s no better time to bring some greenery inside your office, so long as no one is allergic to the plants in question.
The world is returning to work -- make sure your office has the freshest air possible for its occupants. If you need more advice on improving IAQ or implementing some of these strategies, you can count on the facility management experts at The Budd Group. To learn more about our services and everything else that we do for our clients, give us a call today at 800-221-8158!
Click here for more detailed information on improving indoor air quality from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And for more information regarding ventilation and air quality control for COVID-19 from the CDC, click here.
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