Best Practices for Indoor Air Quality in Green Buildings

Popular green building standards focus on reducing resource consumption, emissions, and environmental impact. The implementation of these standards not only contributes to environmental protection but also saves on the operation of offices. Savings can be up to 20%, and this is a good argument for the introduction of green practices. Professionals are currently developing green standards. They focus not only on the economy, operation, and environmental protection but also on the comfort and well-being of the person using the building. The climate system is an indispensable element of any office because the well-being and performance of people depend on the quality of the air in the room.

This is a prerequisite to reducing the impact of harmful factors on employees. Suboptimal microclimate parameters can lead to poor health and malaise. In medicine, there is a special term for diseases concerning unsatisfactory parameters of the indoor air – called the sick building syndrome.

Factors affecting air quality

Factors that directly affect the quality of air in a building:

  • Air exchange rate and modes of operation of the ventilation system;
  • Filter cleaning class in the ventilation system;
  • Timely maintenance of ventilation and central air conditioning systems;
  • The density of accommodation of personnel in the room;
  • Epidemiological situation;
  • Quality of furniture and finishing materials;
  • The presence of pollution sources inside the office premises (powerful printing centers, a kitchen, a large number of paper documents);
  • etc.

Opportunities for improving the microclimate situation are often associated with rising costs. Some ideas that an increase in the filtering class will necessarily be associated with an increase in energy consumption are outdated. Poor indoor air quality is also often attributed to economic factors, such as the inability to reduce staffing density due to high rental costs or the cost of the HVAC supplies themselves. Nevertheless, this does not take into account the economic effects of declining performance or illness of personnel. Even though care for the environment and savings are not mutually exclusive requirements.

The importance of HVAC systems

Modern climate systems can be energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, and create all conditions for productive work. The format of the equipment can be different: both local compact solutions, such as air purifiers, and solutions built into the central supply ventilation system. Such equipment has a low resistance and a high level of filtration with low power consumption.

Experiment: put HVAC supplies for air purification and disinfection in one green building, and let there be no such equipment in the second. As a result, there will be a third more sick leave than in the first building. Given such effects, good ventilation and air purification are not a source of expense, but a source of return on lost profits.

In general, green climate equipment must comply with general environmental principles, provide high air quality, high purification class from all types of pollution, low initial pressure drop and its slight increase when filters are dirty, long service life and low cost of filters, low energy consumption.

Purchase and installation of a modern system

Purchasing and installing modern equipment is only the first step toward making a building more environmentally friendly. Technologies are developing not only in the direction of increasing the efficiency of actuators but also in the direction of building various systems for intelligent control of the microclimate and equipment. Air quality control solutions are more or less known, although they have low penetration and still high cost. Nevertheless, they allow you to control various climate equipment in an automatic mode now.

The next step is to combine the indoor air control system with the outdoor air control system. This will increase the efficiency of the entire system. If the air is clean outside, the air purification system is not active However, the indoor microclimate will still be at a high level. Such compact solutions have already been developed and are being implemented. That means the range of possibilities for designing green buildings is expanding. Especially while meeting the requirements of sustainability.

Final word

Designers often overlook HVAC supplies. Meanwhile, modern equipment and control systems make it possible to meet the requirements of environmental standards. They make the microclimate in the premises comfortable for the staff. They help improve work efficiency and protect against costs associated with staff fatigue and illness.

Author: Bella Clarks