Preventing Sick Building Syndrome through HVAC Technology
Indoor air quality issues can turn office buildings and commercial facilities into quarantine zones. From volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emanating from new flooring, carpets, or furniture to hazardous building materials, like asbestos, found in aging facilities, indoor air pollutants can add up to health risks for workers.
Air quality dangers
Over the years, energy conservation concerns led to building designs and practices that minimized the infiltration of outside air into office buildings, contributing to the buildup of low-level indoor air pollutants.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identifies indoor air quality as a legitimate health risk that can cause varying levels of distress in workers:
Sick building syndrome is a condition associated with complaints of discomfort including headache; nausea; dizziness; dermatitis; eye, nose, throat, and respiratory irritation; coughing; difficulty concentrating; sensitivity to odors; muscle pain; and fatigue.
The specific causes of the symptoms are often not known but sometimes are attributed to the effects of a combination of substances or individual susceptibility to low concentrations of contaminants. The symptoms are associated with periods of occupancy and often disappear after the worker leaves the worksite.
There are also building-related illnesses that can be transmitted through improperly installed or maintained commercial HVAC systems, which can serve as breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria such as Legionella, the cause of often-fatal Legionnaires’ disease.
Healthy HVAC solutions
The best defense against indoor air pollution in commercial settings is a well-designed HVAC system that can ensure an adequate supply of fresh outdoor air through proper ventilation measures. Modine offers several HVAC solutions for ensuring clean air in offices and institutional facilities such as schools.
The problem with traditional ventilation systems is that they remove contaminated air but do not replace it with fresh, clean air. Modine’s Atherion Packaged Ventilation System solves this problem by pulling fresh, conditioned air into your facility. We also offer a complete line of indoor and outdoor make-up air units to meet the needs of your space.