healthy air in office space

Step up to the Challenge: Cleaner Air in Buildings

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality Plus the Innovations Needed to Remediate Concerns.

Indoor Air Quality Standards are now Higher than Ever

Collectively, we all measure the health of the water we drink on a daily basis and the outdoor air pollutants that affect our breathing everyday, but why has indoor air quality been an afterthought? As Americans, we spend 90% of our time indoors so setting higher standards and guidelines for indoor air quality (IAQ) has been long overdue. The Biden-Harris administration, in relation to creating the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, realized IAQ should be top of mind for all building owners and operators to expedite getting back to a ‘new normal’ and therefore launched The Clean Air in Buildings Challenge. In March 2022, the White House delivered the call to action and included important steps for building stakeholders to follow and meet the challenge. By bringing higher standards for indoor air quality into focus, along with some innovation in how to remediate air quality concerns, healthier buildings are more attainable than ever. 

As part of the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a best practices guide for improving indoor air quality and reducing the risk of spreading dangerous airborne particles. Developed in collaboration with many federal agencies, including the Department of Energy and CDC, the guidelines provide basic principles and actions recommended to improve IAQ in buildings to help reduce the risk of airborne viruses and other contaminants. 

Key actions for facility owners and operators outlined in the challenge are to:

  • Create an action plan and assess risk within your space.
  • Optimize fresh air ventilation.
  • Enhance air filtration and cleaning with solutions like the Beam upper room UVGI disinfection system.
  • Deliver clear communication and awareness to your community.

By assessing your space and needs, one or multiple solutions to improve indoor air quality may be needed. 

Cleaner Air Starts with a Layered Approach

In order to achieve clean indoor air, there are certain requirements developed by ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, in regards to the number of air changes per hour (ACH) needed. ACH is how many times air in a given space is being replaced, typically leading to a 63% removal of microorganisms in the air per air change.

Factoring in room size, number of occupants within the area and room activity, ACH requirements range from 2-3 ACH for commercial buildings to 8+ ACH for hospital settings. 

eACH (equivalent air changes per hour) come from disinfection or purifying solutions that contribute to cleaner air and the ASHRAE guidelines. Things like air purifiers or MERV filters help contribute to cleaner air, but are not actually deactivating the microorganisms, they are just trapping them. Additionally, these products are often very expensive, noisy or a pain to constantly maintain. Working alongside your HVAC system as a layered strategy, UVGI (upper-room germicidal irradiation device) disinfection solutions can provide hospital-level eACH in standard occupied spaces. And, as IAQ affects the safety, comfort, productivity and health of occupants, pairing disinfection platforms alongside already-installed HVAC systems creates the most cost effective way to improve air quality within a space and reduce the spread of bacteria. 

Challenge Accepted

The pandemic has given momentum to encouraging cleaner air within buildings, but now we are amidst the long overdue initiative to change our air quality standards. By accepting the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge and the four steps associated with the guidelines of improving indoor air quality in your buildings, owners and operators have the ability to change the health of their building and minimize exposure risk to their occupants. 

A layered approach to a healthy indoor environment is achievable through effective disinfection solutions. Tailored towards your space, needs and risk level, R-Zero’s full suite of UVC light and sensor technologies can play a key role in your building health and contribute to the Clean Air in Buildings challenge. 

To learn more about how we can help pave the way to healthier indoor air  in your buildings, contact our team of experts here.

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