Indoor Air Quality
Lewis Grizzard, a syndicated southern humorist, once asked the question, “What is ground clutter?” in response to a weatherman’s radar report. He went on to ask, “If I get it on my shoes, can I get it off?”
Indoor air quality is like that. Chances are we have all heard the term “Indoor Air Quality” ( IAQ). But what is it exactly? Is there a definition? And most importantly, what does it mean to us?
Indoor air quality is a term used to characterize the acceptability of the indoor air. Indoor Air Quality is defined as: “The nature of air that affects the health and well-being of occupants.”
That’s a powerful definition. Air that affects the health and well-being of occupants. That encompasses ourselves, our employees and our customers. Indoor Air Quality is very important when it comes to keeping our customers happy and returning. But how do we accomplish that? What constitutes acceptable air quality?
Well, acceptable indoor air quality is defined by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) as: “Air in which there are no known contaminants at harmful concentrations and with which a substantial majority (usually 80%) of the people exposed do not express dissatisfaction.”
We have all been in places where the smoke was so thick that it hung like a blue haze around the other occupants, and when we left, we took the smell with us in our clothes. Or we have been in a beauty shop or printing plant or some other business where the fumes of the chemical used permeated everything and made us dizzy. Or we have been in a hotel room that may have dust and mold smells in the air conditioner that made us sneeze. Or a thousand other places with something in the air.
If we are owners or employees of these businesses, our health and well-being may indeed be affected, and lost time and money from employees absences are a great concern, but what about customers? With the relatively small amount of time spent in the building per visit, how will this affect them?
The World Health Organization has defined health as: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Indoor air quality can effect everyone who walks into a building. If the indoor air quality is poor, it can result in sick employees and lost customers, and that can result in lost revenue.