What is Indoor Air Quality [IAQ]?
Indoor Air Quality is a term that describes how the air inside a building can affect the occupants’ health, comfort, and ability to perform work. Going to a workplace that has poor indoor air quality distracts an employee from their work tasks, resulting in less production and inefficiencies. IAQ is not just one single factor. Good IAQ includes a balance between temperature, humidity, outdoor air exchange, mold contamination, allergens, and chemical exposures.
Unlike the workplace, Residential IAQ can be a bigger issue, because most of us spend much more time at home than at work. Children are more susceptible to low levels of contaminants. For those faced with Workplace IAQ and Residential Air Quality issues, combined exposure can be a double whammy.
Are there state or OSHA standards for IAQ concerns and contaminants?
OSHA has no indoor air quality standards but it does provide guidelines about the most common IAQ workplace complaints. The American Society for Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers [ASHRAE] has voluntary standards that address the ventilation required in various settings – office buildings, schools, theaters, etc. – needed to control a buildup of air contaminants.
Two states, New Jersey and California, have Indoor Air regulations. Vermont has addressed this concern in schools through a law known as Act 125, An Act Relating to Toxic Materials and Indoor Air Quality in Vermont Public Schools.
Is there a test that can find an IAQ problem?
THERE IS NO SINGLE TEST TO FIND AN IAQ PROBLEM. EverGreen approaches an IAQ investigation by first understanding the environment where the IAQ problem is reported. A through site inspection would involve a review of the HVAC system, visual confirmation of mold or water damage, an assessment of onsite chemicals, to include personal use items and cleaning products, and whether any outside influences – like a business next door – is adding contaminants to the air. After this initial survey is conducted, EverGreen will choose the tests most likely to find the suspected problem.