Airtek Indoor Air Solutions Offers Services to meet the EPA Healthy Building Challenge
Clean air is a necessity when it comes to healthy living. While homes that are kept clean often have relatively high indoor air quality (IAQ), commercial buildings with a lot of foot traffic can struggle to keep the same level of IAQ. With so many people traveling through or working in commercial buildings every day, it’s more important than ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that the air available to people in a building is clean and free of hazards such as viral agents.
In order to address the importance of IAQ in buildings, the Biden Administration, through its recently released National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan has issued a challenge to not only building managers, but engineers, restoration contractors, facility directors, HVAC mechanical contractors, and more to improve IAQ and protect public health as a whole.
Quoted from the National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan,
“Improvements to ventilation systems can maximize health outcomes. When indoors, effective ventilation strategies can help reduce viral particle concentration as well as other indoor air contaminants, which is why the Administration will continue to provide support in improved ventilation, so Americans can remain safely indoors as they proceed with their lives.
“To encourage good ventilation and improve indoor air quality, the U.S. government will launch a Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, a call for all building managers/engineers, business owners, or organization leaders to take on key strategies to improve ventilation in buildings and implement cost-effective ventilation and air filtration improvements in buildings across the country.
“To further increase uptake of ventilation improvements, the government will also launch a new initiative to recognize steps taken by organizations and buildings to improve ventilation in alignment with industry-recognized standards. In addition to promoting ventilation system upgrades and improvements in schools and public buildings, the Administration will also provide guidance and technical resources to help to build managers implement ventilation solutions, and encourage state, local, and tribal governments and school districts to undertake improvements in ventilation and air filtration as a critical component of reducing disease spread through the use of American Rescue Plan funding.”
This challenge is meant to give the push many buildings need towards better IAQ through the improvement of ventilation systems. Newer buildings generally have state-of-the-art systems, but older buildings may still have their original ventilation systems or have had multiples over the years that still aren’t up to the standards that are needed for public health safety during pandemic situations. It is up to building owners to determine the status of their ventilation systems, then take the appropriate actions to ensure that they are doing everything they can for the safety of the inhabitants of their buildings.
Companies like Air Tek are ready to assist when it comes to improving the IAQ of any building, through expert knowledge to give insights into current IAQ levels, and what changes need to be implemented to heed the call of the EPA’s Clean Air in Buildings challenge. By working directly with clients, Air Tek will help create a clean indoor air action plan for any building hoping to improve its IAQ and overall public health.
For facility and property managers, this challenge means they should be prepared to bring in the professionals required to do regular IAQ studies to determine whether the IAQ is at the standard required to meet the challenge, and get professionals’ opinions on changes that can be made to ventilation and filtration systems to boost IAQ in a cost-effective manner.
In some cases, this can result in a few changes to their buildings’ ventilation systems. Firstly, improved filtration may be required, which would result in the installation of additional HEPA filtration systems at main HVAC equipment and air intakes and exchanges. HEPA filters are highly effective at removing the most harmful particles from the air, especially if using the highest rated HEPA filters; although added strain to HVAC systems with higher filtration will mean more scheduled maintenance. Secondly, increasing the rate of outdoor air exchanges can help boost the amount of fresh air flowing through a building. By exchanging dirty indoor air with filtered outdoor air more often, IAQ often improves greatly, especially when it comes to maintaining healthy levels of oxygen.
The Clean Air in Buildings challenge is also very relevant to HVAC mechanical contractors. With the need to increase the number of air exchanges and filtration on systems, it will come down to these contractors to help maintain HVAC systems that will be straining more to keep up with the added constriction on airflow. HVAC mechanical contractors will also be called on to provide recommendations for higher-end system installations to provide maximum protection against viral and other negative IAQ agents. Air Tek is at the forefront of HVAC system technology and is ready to provide whatever knowledge and installations are needed for buildings hoping to answer the call of the challenge.
Restoration contractors will also be playing their part in meeting the expectations of the Clean Air in Buildings challenge. After a disaster, HVAC systems always need to be fully cleaned out, and often equipment needs to be replaced. This is the perfect time to make needed upgrades to systems. During restoration, they can make all the necessary recommendations to building owners about how their HVAC and ventilation systems can be upgraded to ultimately improve the building’s overall IAQ and boost the health of workers or inhabitants in the building. Renovation times after a disaster means that walls and ceilings are already likely to be torn out, so it gives easy access to core components of HVAC systems and ventilation to make the necessary updates.
While the pandemic is nearing its end, that doesn’t mean public health and indoor air quality should go to the wayside. The Clean Air in Buildings challenge put forth by the Biden Administration through the National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and the EPA needs to become the standard for any building going forward. Air Tek has always been all-in for improving public health and IAQ through smart planning, and the installation of HVAC equipment, filtration, and ventilation that brings clean indoor air to as many people as possible.