Overview• Background• Indoor Air Quality Parameters• Sources of Indoor Air Quality Pollutants• Proactive Approach to Indoor Air Quality• Promoting Good Indoor Air Quality
Background• According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the last decade, there has been a significant increase in public concern about IEQ. NIOSH scientists have completed approximately 1300 evaluations related to the indoor office environment since the late 1970’s, and the number of these requests as a percentage of the total has risen dramatically.• During the 1970s, ventilation requirements were changed to conserve fossil fuels, and virtually air-tight buildings emerged. At the same time, a revolution occurred in office work throughout the country. Computers and other new work technologies forced a change in office procedures and productivity, and ergonomic and organizational stress problems may have increased.
Background• In 1980, requests to evaluate office environments made up only 8% of the total requests for NIOSH investigations. In 1990, the Institute received 150 IEQ requests, which accounted for 38% of the total. Since 1990, IEQ requests have made up 52% all requests.
Background• Indoor air quality is not a simple, easily defined concept like a desk or a leaky faucet. It is a constantly changing interaction of complex factors that affect the types, levels, and importance of pollutants in indoor environments.• These factors include: sources of pollutants or odors; design, maintenance and operation of building ventilation systems; moisture and humidity; and occupant perceptions and susceptibilities. In addition, there are many other factors that affect comfort or perception of indoor air quality. (EPA Guide “An Office Building Occupants Guide to Indoor Air Quality”)
Background• A 1989 EPA Report to Congress concluded that improved indoor air quality can result in higher productivity and fewer lost work days. EPA estimates that poor indoor air may cost the nation tens of billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and medical care.
Background• Controlling indoor air quality involves integrating three main strategies. • Manage the sources of pollutants either by removing them from the building or isolating them from people through physical barriers, air pressure relationships, or by controlling the timing of their use. • Dilute pollutants and remove them from the building through ventilation. • Use filtration to clean the air of pollutants. (EPA Guide “An Office Building Occupants Guide to Indoor Air Quality”)
Indoor Air Quality Parameters• Temperature• Relative Humidity• Biological• Chemical• Physical
Source of Indoor Air Quality Pollutants• Indoor Sources• Outdoor Sources
Indoor Pollutant Sources• Building Equipment • HVAC Equipment • Other Equipment• Finishes & Furnishings• Occupants
Indoor Pollutants Biological Contaminants• Excessive concentrations of bacteria, viruses, fungi (molds), dust mites, animal dander, and pollen may result from: • Inadequate maintenance & housekeeping • Water intrusion • Inadequate humidity control
Indoor Pollutants Chemical pollutants• Sources of chemical pollutants include: • Tobacco smoke • Emissions from products used in the building (e.g., office equipment; furniture, wall and floor coverings; and cleaning and consumer products) • Accidental spill of chemicals • Gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, which are products of combustion.
Indoor Pollutants Particles• Particles are solid or liquid substances which are light enough to be suspended in the air, the largest of which may be visible in sunbeams streaming into a room. However, smaller particles that you cannot see are likely to be more harmful to health. Particles of dust, dirt, or other substances may be drawn into the building from outside and can also be produced by activities that occur in buildings, like sanding wood or drywall, printing, copying, operating equipment, and smoking. (EPA Guide “An Office Building Occupants Guide to Indoor Air Quality”)
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