The Importance of Indoor Air Quality as Employees Return to the Office


Doubling the ventilation rate from ASHRAE minimum cost less than $40 per person per year, but improved the performance of workers by 8% — equivalent to a $6,500 increase in employee productivity each year.

Aug 13, 2021 by Alan Wozniak for Newsweek

Start with a comprehensive review of your HVAC systems. COVID-19 has forever changed our perception of indoor air quality (IAQ) in the workplace, but as an industry leader and expert in indoor air quality for over 36 years, I observed long before the pandemic how IAQ can contribute to worker productivity and the bottom line. Especially in this day and age, it's time for business leaders to learn more.

According to "Rethinking Buildings Post-COVID-19," a study commissioned by Honeywell and released in June of this year, 75% of facility managers in the U.S. say COVID-19 caused them to permanently rethink their mode of operation. Considering COVID-19 is an airborne virus, it is encouraging that the same study revealed nearly six in 10 respondents are now more likely to invest in indoor air quality optimization and other healthy building solutions.

Ideally, it should not take a pandemic to change the perception of facilities managers or other business leaders. IAQ has been affecting worker productivity and a company's bottom line all along. "The Impact of Green Buildings on Cognitive Function," a study released in October 2015 and conducted by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Center for Health and the Global Environment, SUNY Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University, demonstrated that IAQ affects workers' cognitive function, or ability to think clearly.

Study participants who worked in a green building environment with enhanced ventilation and reduced volatile organic compound (VOC) levels in the air scored 101% higher on cognitive tests than participants in conventional building environments.

A separate study, released in November 2015, "Economic, Environmental and Health Implications of Enhanced Ventilation in Office Buildings," determined that doubling the ventilation rate from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) minimum cost less than $40 per person per year, but improved the performance of workers by 8% — equivalent to a $6,500 increase in employee productivity each year. Read More

Source: Newsweek