It is common knowledge that air pollution has disastrous effects on human health as well as on the environment. But what you might not know is that indoor air can be as much as 50 times more polluted than outdoor air. This is because enclosed indoor spaces allow the buildup of pollutants in a concentrated area along with pollutants from indoor sources.
Indoor air pollution leads to the same negative health effects as outdoor air pollution, and can also lead to increased sickness and decreased productivity among employees. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken towards protecting commercial building inhabitants by helping them breathe cleaner air. The first step to improving indoor air quality is understanding and identifying the sources of pollution so that the appropriate solutions can be selected.
Factors that Affect Indoor Air Quality
Chemical pollutants come in many forms. While paint stores and auto repair shops have obvious sources of chemical pollutants, toxic vapors can be generated from a wide range of sources from chemicals used in cleaning to gasses emitted from raw materials used in the manufacturing of the furniture.
Particulate matter (PM) is one of the most prominent sources of air pollution. Smaller particles can stay suspended in the air for long periods of time. These same small particles are the most damaging to human health, because they can not only penetrate deep into lungs but into body tissue.
Pathogens and other microorganisms
Over the course of the last year, the importance of indoor air quality has come to the forefront of public attention globally due to the role of air filtration and ventilation in decreasing the risk of COVID-19 infection. However, SARS-CoV-2 is not the only pathogen that affects indoor air quality. Other disease-causing viruses and bacteria linger in poorly ventilated, unfiltered air, in addition to fungi and mold spores, which can quickly lead to mold growth.
Pets and pests
In buildings where pets are present, fur and skin cells contribute to dust formation, and can worsen breathing ailments such as asthma and bronchitis. Pests such as dust mites, mice, and cockroaches can also leave behind allergens and debris.
A well-designed ventilation system should allow air to circulate through the building while minimizing the intake of polluted outdoor air. To ensure the best indoor air quality, ventilation must be paired with high-efficiency air filtration solutions. Particularly with the threat of respiratory particles infected with COVID-19 spreading through unfiltered HVAC systems, it is essential to filter recirculated air to ensure the safety of building inhabitants.
Proper ventilation should also ensure that the humidity levels in a facility stay optimal. When humidity levels are too low and the air is too dry, it can cause discomfort for building inhabitants by exacerbating eczema and other skin conditions. When humidity levels are too high, excessive moisture in the air can create an environment in which pathogens and mold flourish.
One of the most important and simultaneously overlooked sources of pollution in commercial buildings is people. People coming in and out of a building can bring in external pollutants and allergens (such as pet dander, pollen, and particulate matter from outdoors) on their hair and clothing. Additionally, humans shed as many as 40,000 skin cells every single minute, which adds up to millions of skin cells over the course of the day with multiple building inhabitants and guests. This contributes to dust in the environment. People breathing also adds moisture to the air. Even if respiratory droplets are not infected, they still contribute to poor indoor air quality when left unchecked.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Commercial Buildings
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends three steps for commercial facilities managers to improve indoor air quality: identify pollution sources, improve ventilation, and implement air filtration. An air filtration expert can guide you through this process and help find the best combination of solutions to fit your building’s needs and budget.
Below are several recommendations from air quality experts from Camfil Canada.
30/30 Dual 9 Panel Air Filter
Specifically engineered to increase particle capture efficiency, lower energy consumption, and last longer than any pleated panel filter before it, the 30/30 Dual 9 by international leading clean air solution manufacturer Camfil is a game-changer when it comes to high performance pleated air filters. The Dual 9 is the longest-lasting pleated filter on the market and is guaranteed to maintain its rated efficiency throughout the filter lifetime.
Camfil’s City M Air Purifier
The City M air purifier includes a HEPA filter and a molecular filter that work in conjunction with one another to remove dust, contaminants, harmful VOCs and odors for healthier indoor air. The City M air purifier consumes 50% less energy than units of similar size. This in-room air purifier is quiet, making it ideal for use in offices and other public building spaces.
CamCleaner CC500 Air Purifier
The CamCleaner CC500 air purifier was originally designed early in the pandemic for hospitals that needed to create negatively pressurized isolation areas. The unit was also engineered to serve as a standalone air purifier for offices, schools, and other public buildings. The CC500’s MERV-9/9A prefilter extends the life of the 99.99% HEPA filter, leading to lower overall running and maintenance costs.
About Camfil Clean Air Solutions
For more than half a century, Camfil has been helping people breathe cleaner air. As a leading manufacturer of premium clean air solutions, we provide commercial and industrial systems for air filtration and air pollution control that improve worker and equipment productivity, minimize energy use, and benefit human health and the environment. We firmly believe that the best solutions for our customers are the best solutions for our planet, too. That’s why every step of the way – from design to delivery and across the product life cycle – we consider the impact of what we do on people and on the world around us. Through a fresh approach to problem-solving, innovative design, precise process control, and a strong customer focus we aim to conserve more, use less and find better ways – so we can all breathe easier.
The Camfil Group is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and has 33 manufacturing sites, six R&D centers, local sales offices in 30 countries, and about 4,800 employees and growing. We proudly serve and support customers in a wide variety of industries and in communities across the world. To discover how Camfil Canada can help you to protect people, processes and the environment, visit us at https://www.camfil.com/en-ca/