Importance Of Good Ventilation In The Workplace
Oxygen is essential to our survival. We spend every second breathing air. As a result, the quality of the air you are breathing should be at the forefront of your mind. However, that’s not often the case. A lot of people never even think about the quality of the air they are taking in. However, it plays such a critical role in our health, comfort, and even our productivity. Good ventilation can not only help improve air quality, but it can also save commercial buildings energy. This is why air quality monitoring is so important.
Not only does good ventilation effectively get rid of air contaminants, but it helps better control temperature and humidity levels too. Having optimal ventilation can help to get rid of harmful CO2 and bring in fresh air to replace it. ASHRAE specifically recommends that buildings minimize CO2 levels to under 700 parts per million (ppm) above the levels outside which sit at around 1,000ppm.
The optimal temperature should sit anywhere from 70 degrees to 75 degrees Farenheight. It should also have humidity levels that sit between 20 and 60 percent. Having humidity levels over 40 percent is likely to reduce the total number of airborne contaminants from viruses. You might be wondering why these guidelines are so important. Here are some of the reasons why you might want to integrate these into the workplace.
1. Improving Comfort
One of the main reasons to invest time and energy into improving ventilation in the workplace has to do with the comfort level of your employees. You want your employees to feel comfortable while they are working. No one wants to go to a place they feel uncomfortable. It can result in poor performance. It’s so important because a lot of employees spend all day indoors. If the air quality is poor, their performance is bound to suffer. It can be very difficult to maintain optimal comfort when the indoor temperatures are too high or too low. The temperature needs to be comfortable. Likewise, you need the humidity levels to be optimal to avoid having people get uncomfortable. Keeping your employees comfortable is one of the best things you can do to improve employee motivation, morale, and productivity.
2. Improving Productivity
As mentioned briefly above, it’s very important to maintain comfortable temperatures for your workforce. It’s one of the most important things to do when it comes to maintaining productivity amongst your staff. Employees require good ventilation and air quality to support better focus, decision-making, and energy levels. A lot of employees will be unmotivated when they aren’t feeling their best. Not only that, but brains perform best when there are low levels of CO2 and when there is a lot of fresh air. Thus, supplying the brain with these things can help to optimize one’s performance.
There was a study conducted by Harvard that found a direct link between people being in a place with good air quality and making better decisions. This study was conducted with participants in a place with low levels of CO2. It allowed the participants to work and strategize more effectively compared to those in a high CO2 environment. Along with this, the study also found that employees in Eco-certified buildings ended up scoring a lot higher on cognitive function tests than the workers in non-green-certified buildings. It was also found that maintaining comfortable temperatures ended up contributing positively to better productivity levels.
Therefore, you might be wondering whether or not upgrading your HVAC system is worth the extra cost. Harvard ended up estimating that doubling the ventilation rates in the office space can cost as much as $40 per person annually. However, they also found that the increased productivity that came with it ended up earning companies an extra $6,500 per employee. It’s easy to conclude that it’s worth it for profit-focused businesses.
3. Reducing Sick Time
There are countless reasons a person can get sick. One of them is being in a space with poor ventilation. Bad indoor air can lead to a lot of problems including inflammation, eye irritation, and even respiratory problems. It can be a major issue for those that already have respiratory problems, to begin with. Bad air quality is also linked to sick building syndrome. This is a situation where employees and even students report experiencing various symptoms whenever they are inside of a building but not when they are outside of it. This is why it’s so crucial to have ventilation within a commercial or public space.
These systems can keep people healthy. For instance, doubling the ventilation in an otherwise low-ventilated building has correlated to a decrease in employee sick time by as much as 35 percent. There is also a similar correlation among students. There were a lot fewer absences in these classrooms.
Lockheed Martin ended up moving one of its commercial teams to a brand new building that was designed to provide optimal airflow, natural light, and energy efficiency in 1983. They found that employee absenteeism ended up dipping as much as 15 percent and the total increase in productivity they gained from their employees ended up paying for the total cost of the building within the 1st year.
4. Create a More Pleasant Space For Clients
One of the worst things is to show up for a meeting or even an interview and start sweating because the indoor environment is so poorly ventilated. It can make it incredibly difficult to focus and concentrate on what you are doing. It can be difficult to describe what’s off in these situations, but it’s very noticeable whenever you get into a room that has poor ventilation.
You’ll want to utilize your building’s ventilation system to put people at ease and make them more comfortable. By supplying a more comfortable atmosphere, you can make it much easier for your clients to have a better experience while meeting with you. This can improve your business all around.
5. Reduce Energy Costs
Energy costs are always a concern for businesses. You don’t want a sky-high energy bill. Believe it or not, heating and ventilation ended up taking up a major portion of your utility bills. Luckily, there are ways to reduce the impact on your bottom line. One of them is by optimizing ventilation in the office space. Here are some of the strategies you can use to successfully do this:
– Energy Recovery Ventilation
Energy recovery ventilation systems or “ERV,” work by transferring the humidity and temperature from exhausting conditioned air to the incoming fresh air. This can help to maximize the efficiency of the system while still delivering a lot more intake of fresh air.
– Ventilation (Demand-Controlled)
CO2 sensors can effectively calculate optimal airflow on the spot and adjust the conditions accordingly. After all, a room that has over 50 people is going to need a lot more than a room with only 3 people in it. The system can detect this and supply accordingly.
– Compressors Capable Of Variable Speed
A Variable Speed Compressor is a system that can have multiple settings. When you combine it with variable blowers, it can better control the airflow and temps with more precision while consuming less energy.
To ensure you are getting the most out of your ventilation and HVAC system in general, you’ll want to consult with a qualified HVAC technician to assess everything.
Control The Humidity Levels
Another major benefit that you can get from getting a ventilation system is being able to control the humidity levels. ERVs can effectively recapture a lot of the moisture in the air which can decrease the amount of energy needed to humidify the fresh air. Keeping lower humidity levels can minimize issues with mold, bacteria growth, and more that can cause respiratory problems and decrease air quality.
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