As of 2018, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that commercial buildings are getting bigger. They estimate 5.9 million buildings have 97 billion square feet and that offices are 23% of this floorspace. Their size and use indicate they are not very sustainable. More heating and cooling will be needed with longer operating hours, which makes managing indoor air quality all the more important.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed studies that show indoor environments can host pollutant levels higher than those found outside. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that impact air quality in offices and how air curtains mitigate those factors.
Most American spend up to 90% of their time indoors and at least a third of their lives at work. The majority of workers are in some type of physical building. Jones Lang LaSalle, the global real estate services company, reports that employee expectations are rising for amenities and comforts. Clearly, indoor air quality will continue to be important to employees and guests.
An Environmental Protection Agency study concluded that improved indoor air quality raises productivity and can be tied to fewer lost work days.
The EPA says three strategies are critical to indoor air quality:
Jones Lang LaSalle also reports that improving thermal comfort and ventilation raises productivity by +5%. Other studies show that productivity lowers when people are hotter or colder than their preferred temperature. When profitability can be so clearly tied to temperature stability, keeping temperatures consistent with the least cost expended is as critical as any business decision.
Air curtains at entries and openings take out the variability of outside air that changes your indoor air quality and temperature. The energy savings alone and the reduced imposition on your HVAC systems means the air curtain pays for itself quickly with the money it saves. The Mars ROI calculator can help you understand how quickly your air curtain purchase can pay for itself.
Airborne pollutants can be toxins from outside your office or they could generate inside from cleaning products or pesticides. Even office equipment, such as laser printers, are known to be a source of toxins inside offices. Studies show particulate concentrations were found to be five times higher during working hours when office equipment was in use.
Air curtains will provide an invisible air stream of protection at office entry doors. Even a large bank of doors can be protected with a series of air curtains. There is no entry which is too wide for air curtain protection.
It is also worth considering the Mars air wash unit. This protective product is a vertical-mounted pass-thru structure that gently disperses debris from those entering the building. It uses three technologies: True HEPA filters, MERV 7-8 prefilters and cold plasma generator and UVC bulbs. The Mars air wash unit would not impede passage of people entering the office while it would contribute.
Loading bays found in larger commercial office buildings along with rear entry doors benefit from industrial units designed for larger openings that need more industrial strength units.
Moisture affects indoor air quality by creating an environment for mold and other biological contaminants to thrive. Some mold contains mycotoxins which are still under study but are known to induce liver cancer, kidney failure and effects on the brain and nervous system. Other individuals will suffer from irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, or throat while others may suffer from asthmatic attacks from the mold.
Air curtains can dry wet floors and tackle the problems that condensation is known to create. Air curtains can be placed at every type of entrance door and can be used near processes that are known to create moisture to help dry surfaces.
Moisture can create slippery floors which are triggers for slipping accidents. These accidents are in the top five reasons for workers compensation claims and can happen in many indoor environments. Wet climate environments can also be a source for slippery lobby floors. An air curtain can work to automatically trigger to dry floors and eliminate concerns of accidents and claims.
For more information, the EPA’s Office Building Occupants Guide to Indoor Air Quality can help. The Mars Product Selector is a handy tool that can guide you through your selection process while the Mars Air Wash product information is also available. If you need more help or information to find an air curtain that best suits your business needs, contact us today.