IAQ - Indoor Air Quality
EPA I-BEAM Diagnostics for Commercial Buildings Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and Miami Florida.
Why Should I?
So what's all this about IAQ? In the mid 1970s, nobody heard about IAQ. Now, you can't open a building-related professional magazine without seeing some article about IAQ.
New diseases with names like Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) and Building Related Illness (BRI) all related to IAQ have emerged.
Occupants and tenants are now suing architects, builders, and building owners for health and business costs associated with poor IAQ.
- Industrial hygienists and Indoor Environmental Consultants can now acquire a specialty certification in IAQ.
- Guidelines, websites, chat lines, and other information resources proliferate, and the market for IAQ consultants is growing.
- Major HVAC equipment manufacturers now offer solutions to IAQ problems. From duct cleaners to air cleaners, ionizers and air purifiers–everyone wants a piece of the pie.
- ASHRAE has developed an IAQ ventilation standard.
- OSHA has proposed an IAQ regulation.
EPA is publishing major guidance documents like I-BEAM.
- Five to ten major domestic and international conferences a year are devoted solely to IAQ.
Why? Because occupants, tenants, and building owners, health authorities, and lawyers are beginning to take notice.
Why do occupants care?
Consider the following:
- Failure to follow simple risk avoidance guidelines in the design, construction, and operational systems of buildings is the prime cause of “sick buildings” or complaint buildings, where illness rates are 2 - 6 times higher than average for symptoms of the lower respiratory tract, 3-5 times higher than average for inflammation or irritation of mucous membranes, and 2-3 times higher than average for central nervous system health effects.
- Substantial performance losses can be subtle and occur even though people do not overtly complain.
- Poor IAQ increases absentee rates and loss of human performance while at work. About half of surveyed office workers complain that poor IAQ accounts for some productivity loss at work. The average reported loss for all workers is approximately 3%. This includes those who report no loss, those that report a modest loss, and those whose IAQ is very poor and whose loss is reported to be substantial.
- Several major IAQ lawsuits in the past decade have resulted in multimillion dollar settlements, where everyone from the builders, the equipment manufacturers, and the building owners were named as defendants.
- Estimates of annual savings that could be achieved by following good practice guidelines which are incorporated in I-BEAM range from $50 billion to $150 billion.
So occupants care and they expect to get good IAQ. Breathing clean air is considered a right, not a privilege.
An IAQ investigation is like detective work - defining the problem, looking for clues, and finding a solution through an iterative process of narrowing the possible causes, and developing and testing hypotheses. We at ‘The Florida Inspectors’ have over a half of a century and over 10K projects in actual field experience to help guide your IAQ investigation.
Clues may be found in basic information about the problem. Seeking the right information from occupants, examining building components with an educated eye, and making some simple diagnostic measurements can probably solve most problems.