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How to Improve the Air Quality in Your Office

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It may sound obvious, but the quality of the air we breathe is of crucial importance to all life. It therefore makes complete sense that the quality of air in indoor spaces, such as offices, can have a dramatic impact on the health, comfort, and productivity of those who breathe it.

Indoor air quality can come down to a number of factors or variables, including but not limited to:

  • Odour,
  • Temperature,
  • Humidity,
  • Air movement,
  • Dust,
  • Airborne contaminants, and
  • Contaminants brought in on a person, such as fragrances, cigarette smoke, and even clothes washing detergent.

Some of these factors, such as temperature, impact more on the perception of air quality, while factors such as contaminants have very real impacts.

Ventilation and circulation are key factors when it comes to air quality in enclosed space, which is why winter sees the greatest detriment to indoor air quality. In winter, doors and windows often remain closed, with cracks sealed to prevent drafts and heat loss, and building insulation tightened overall. This results in a less ventilated and increasingly stuffy environment. What this means is that allergens and pollutants are trapped inside, resulting in a higher concentration of these nasties. A lack of sufficient ventilation is also responsible for the spread of diseases such as colds and influenza, as bacteria is not flushed out on a regular basis, giving it a chance to spread to others.

With all of the potential factors that can interfere with the quality of air indoors, it’s important to find ways to prevent contamination and indeed improve the overall air quality. There are a few ways that you can improve the quality of air in your office, however.

Source control

Source control is a good place to start. It involves looking for the source of potential pollution and taking steps to minimise it. For example, dust is a common contaminant, and ensuring regular vacuuming and dusting can actually go a long way in improving air quality as the concentration of dust particles will be reduced. In addition, cleaning products can release toxic fumes in the air, so using non-toxic products is another effective way to improve air quality and health and safety.

Purification

The next step is purification, which involves removing contaminants from the air. This can be done through the use of purification oils, such as lemon based essential oils, air purifiers (HEPA filters), and even certain indoor plants that have natural purification qualities, such as aloe vera. When using plants, it’s important to keep them well watered but also monitor the buildup of mold as this is another detriment to indoor air quality.

Ventilation

Ventilation is another way to improve indoor air quality, and perhaps also one of the most impactful. Ensuring that your space or office is well ventilated to the outdoors can have a profound impact on the resulting air quality, as it allows contaminated air to move outside while fresh air can be brought in. Ventilation and circulation are important ways in which to improve air quality, and devices such as Heat Recovery Ventilators or HRV are an excellent way to see real improvements. These devices have up to 51% more airflow than other comparable ventilation systems.

HRV

A HRV is a box which is equipped with a fan, designed to draw in air from outdoors and direct it indoors. At the same time, it removes or exhausts stale air from a room and expels it outwards. The heat recovery function of this device allows it to reclaim the heat from the stale indoor air before discarding it outside. Overall, this is considered to be a very effective way to improve air quality in indoor spaces, and HRV systems are commonly used in both businesses and homes.

As many of us take the air we breathe for granted, it’s important to take a step back and consider how cleaner air can affect our lives. Simply improving the quality of indoor air in your office or home can have profound effects on your productivity through increased concentration levels and brain function. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, better air quality will ensure that your health is not compromised, and that the toxicity that is released with each breath is not lingering and subsequently being ingested over and over again. After all, with so many hours spent in our homes and offices each day, it’s easy to see how breathing poor quality air could end up having serious health implications over the long term.

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