Indoor Air Quality

March 18, 2014 | Office Space
By O. Randall Woodbury

Indoor Air Quality

Office Space
By O. Randall Woodbury
Indoor Air Quality

Managing a large portfolio of office buildings, we occasionally have the Indoor Air Quality of one building or another called into question. The scenario is usually an employee of a

"In this world of blame,
the first accusation is usually pointed towards the air quality of the office building. "

tenant complaining of feeling ill at work or having respiratory irritation. In this world of blame, the first accusation is usually pointed towards the air quality of the office building.

The EPA web page, Care For Your Air: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality does include a short reference to office buildings saying, "Many office buildings have poor IAQ because of pollution sources and poorly designed, maintained, or operated ventilation systems." There is a much more extensive list of recommendations to improve air quality in the home, including:

  •  Don't allow smoking in your home or car.
  •  Dust and clean your home regularly.
  •  Clean up mold and fix water leaks.
  •  Wash sheets and blankets weekly in hot water.
  •  Use allergen-proof mattress and pillow covers.
  •  Keep pets out of the bedroom and off soft furniture.
  •  Control pests—close up cracks and crevices and seal leaks; don't leave food out.

Our response to such an accusation is to hire independent air testing at a cost of around $1,500 per test. To date, our indoor air has tested as clean or cleaner than the air outside. This should come as no surprise in buildings with routine janitorial service and with large commercial HVAC systems that are routinely filter changed, serviced and maintained. If we could only insist that each accusing employee conduct a similar test in their own home!