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01/14/2014

Three Ways to Improve Winter IAQ

 
Poor IAQ in the winter can negatively affect commercial building occupants.

For the millions of Americans who work in commercial and institutional buildings, winter is the harshest season. Not so much for the ice and snow outside, but for the storm brewing inside. That’s because 30% of commercial buildings in the U.S. have poor IAQ, which is linked to respiratory illnesses and allergies, according to some World Health Organization experts.

In addition to shouldering the medical expenses of sick workers, U.S. businesses experience as much as a 33% drop in worker productivity due to poor IAQ. In fact, the total costs to the U.S. economy from poor IAQ are estimated to be as high as $160 billion a year.

Fortunately, airborne disease transmission can be reduced through effective air filtration. Kimberly-Clark Professional Filtration offers the following tips for commercial buildings to improve their IAQ this winter.

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR HVAC SYSTEM’S AIR FILTERS
Air filters provide a primary defense for building occupants against indoor air pollutants. But air filters will only support good IAQ when they are maintained correctly. Replace filters according to the schedule recommended by the manufacturer, or use a pressure gauge to determine when the filter has reached its final pressure drop. During installation, secure the filters tightly to avoid gaps between the filter frame and the filter rack. This helps avoid bypass air, which is detrimental to IAQ because respirable particles travel through the gap without being filtered.

LOOK BEYOND MERV TO FILTERING OF SUBMICRON PARTICLES
The filtration efficiency of commercial air filters is rated by the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). A filter’s MERV is measured by the ASHRAE 52.2 Test Standard, which provides the efficiency of the filter over three particle size ranges: E1 (very fine particles of 0.3 to 1.0 micrometers), E2 (fine particles of 1.0 to 3.0 micrometers), and E3 (coarse particles of 3.0 to 10.0 micrometers). The smallest (under 2.5 microns) and most toxic particles are most likely to travel to the deepest part of the lungs, where they can cause a variety of respiratory health problems. Many filters have low E1 and E2 efficiencies. It’s therefore important to look beyond the MERV to the entire ASHRAE 52.2 test report, across all particle sizes.

USE FILTERS WITH MECHANO-ELECTRET MEDIA
Filters that provide a good balance of mechanical and electret efficiency will almost always outperform a filter that relies solely on mechanical efficiency. While submicron particles are much smaller than the void spaces in most commercial electret media, the electrostatic effects are particularly useful in increasing the capture efficiency for the submicron particles that can cause health problems.

“Improved indoor environmental quality may improve work performance, reduce absences, and reduce healthcare needs,” says Robert Martin, associate category manager at Kimberly-Clark Professional Filtration.

According to Martin, IAQ improvements can reduce respiratory illnesses by up to 76%, and businesses can realize up to a 20% improvement in productivity.

 

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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.

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We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
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Mitsubishi Electric’s H2i R2-Series heat pumps provide 100% heating capacity down to 0° F and simultaneous heating and cooling down to -4° F delivering year-round comfort, regardless of climate zone.

 
04/16/2014

The U.S. Army plans to start development of a solar array that will provide about 25% of the annual installation electricity requirement of Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

04/15/2014

The EPA's annual greenhouse gas emissions report is now available.

04/14/2014

Are you what some would call a “climate-change denier”? If so, you'll want to read this.

04/10/2014
Los Angeles has remained the top city for ENERGY STAR certified building since 2008, while Washington, D.C. continues to hold onto second place for the fifth consecutive year, according to a new list released by the EPA.
04/09/2014
Green construction has grown massively over a short period of time.
04/07/2014
Field demonstrations of newly proven energy-efficient technologies are yielding valuable results for the U.S. Navy, helping it meet energy goals.
04/03/2014
Building owners in Chicago now have more options when it comes to getting their building energy data verified.
04/01/2014
According to a new report from Eaton, such outages are up 15% in 2013 over 2012 and over half of those surveyed believe that downtime could have been prevented.
03/31/2014
The newly revised ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 105-2014, Standard Methods of Determining, Expressing, and Comparing Building Energy Performance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, aims to provide a consistent method of measuring, expressing, and comparing the energy performance of buildings.
03/27/2014
Facility managers face an every expanding array of sustainability choices and challenges, but for the next generation of FMs, green practices could be second nature as sustainability literacy enters the K-12 school system.
03/25/2014
While the economic recession explains the decline in sales in 2008 and 2009, it is much less clear why sales have continued to fall.
03/24/2014
University of Washington (UW) scientists have built the thinnest known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics.
03/21/2014
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2378 into law, effectively enacting the state’s first building code.
03/19/2014
In an attempt to improve building energy performance, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released a web-based tool called the Technology Performance Exchange, or TPEx.
03/18/2014
Could green building practices pose unanticipated life-safety hazards?
03/13/2014
Worried about workplace violence in your facility? Researchers have discovered that “mindfully observing” high-risk employees can avert danger and workplace violence.
03/11/2014
Through the DOE’s Building Energy Codes Program, every dollar the DOE has spent on building energy codes over the past two decades has resulted in $400 in energy cost savings.
03/07/2014
It is possible to harvest energy from Earth's thermal infrared emission into outer space, according to new research from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
03/05/2014
Is your building prepared to handle an emergency?
03/04/2014
NASCAR revealed five newly installed charging stations for employee use.
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