Breathing easy: clean air, happy occupiers

Temperature, humidity and other sensors are important to prevent energy waste. But they’re just as important to create a healthy indoor environment.

Once upon a time, researchers at the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria decided to see what a two-hour exposure to diesel exhaust does to the brain. The result? Temporary decreased functional connectivity in the brain, after exposure to diesel exhaust. On the other end of the spectrum, Finnish technology company Naava wanted to see the effect of plants and green walls in the office space. No less than 43% of the participants made fewer mistakes in the room with green walls, compared to the control room.

The moral of these studies? Don’t let your occupiers breathe diesel exhaust.

But all jokes aside, an unhealthy indoor environment leads to lower productivity, coughs, colds, mental fatigue, headaches, nausea, and so on—issues that companies strive to prevent and avoid. Obviously, the significance of having comfortable, healthy buildings cannot be underestimated. 

Adapting office spaces for the modern occupier

Just like all humans, occupiers in your office spaces or facilities need high-quality oxygen to breathe, and consistent temperature and humidity levels for comfort and overall performance. You wouldn’t be the first left with empty buildings after the pandemic; ready to get occupiers filling those floors again. And the same goes for many employers who are keen to get their employees back to the office. 

But times have changed – and so have the demands from occupiers.

Offering a healthy work environment asks for more than opening a window to get the air circulating. It’s all about how the building functions as a whole. That’s where monitoring comes into play.

Squirrel on roller skates: navigating indoor environmental performance

Temperature and air quality play a big role in setting an indoor environment up for success. But they’re also wholly dynamic and as unpredictable as a squirrel on roller skates, thanks to their relationship to outdoor conditions and indoor occupancy levels. This means that continuous monitoring with devices in the space is vital to staying on top of our buildings’ indoor environmental performance. 

It doesn’t come as a surprise that The International WELL Building Institute recognises the importance of a healthy indoor environment, and established eight concepts for WELL building certification, one of which is Air Quality. 

But simply meeting ventilation standards is not enough. We must also focus on reducing indoor air pollution and ensuring clean air within our buildings. This is where monitoring plays a crucial role. 

From comfort to sustainability

By keeping a constant eye on the humidity levels, variations from desired temperatures, and any potential malfunctions in our HVAC systems, we can ensure that the equipment in our buildings operates at its very best; and optimally performing equipment means optimal air quality. Even better, this enables us to not only evaluate whether our buildings are delivering a healthy indoor environment, but also to determine if the equipment is running efficiently or wasting energy.

So, not only can we provide a healthy indoor environment, but we can also uncover opportunities to save costs and decrease energy consumption, bringing us one step closer to achieving that net-zero goal.

With the right information, you can make easier, faster and more effective decisions about how energy is being used. Make your first improvements within six months.

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