In this article, published in ISSA’s Cleaning & Maintenance Management Magazine, Dr. John McKeon discusses indoor air pollution in facilities, the causes of it and the solutions available to facility managers and employers. John comments that
“Before the pandemic when you spoke about indoor environments people thought about energy efficiency and sustainability. Now they’re wondering if indoor environments are healthy. The Clean Air in Buildings Challenge will bring an awareness about the importance of healthy indoor air to people and it’s something they’re going to demand going forward.”
Indoor air quality (IAQ) has been a problem in facilities for a long time. As many modern buildings are sealed and rely on ventilation systems all year round, pollutants easily build up to harmful levels and, with an exception for health care facilities, there are no federally enforced U.S. standards for air ventilation in public buildings.
“Now that buildings are sealed for energy efficiency, air quality problems come from odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from materials and products we bring in the building—carpet, furniture, paint—and how we clean and maintain them using pesticides and cleaning chemicals ” said Dr. McKeon.
Just as housekeeping has gone beyond cleaning for appearance to cleaning for health, building ventilation has gone beyond keeping people cool or warm to keeping them healthy.
“If people in your building get headaches or fall asleep after lunch, they will not want to go back to their office,” McKeon said. “People want to come together, but employers need to pull them in, not push them in. Having healthy and clean air quality in your building will help pull them back in.”
Healthier Buildings Awareness Course
In partnership with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) , Allergy Standards runs a course, designed and delivered specifically for building management professionals, to will help take practical next steps in creating cleaner indoor air.
The skills and training program, entitled “Healthier Buildings Awareness”, was specifically developed for the Facilities Management industry to address the knowledge gap relating to healthy buildings and indoor air quality. The course features four modules that educate users on the impact of poor IAQ, how to control pathogens like SARS-CoV-2, challenges of asthma and allergies, and how a building could have multiple triggers that cause low IAQ and illnesses.
You can learn more about the course here from Patricia Olinger and Dr. John McKeon
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