Does your commercial property have a bad case of sick building syndrome? The Environmental Protection Agency defines sick building syndrome as “situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.” Yikes! Building related illnesses derived from sick building syndrome are generally linked with the indoor air-quality of your building. Some contaminants affecting indoor air-quality may include: mold, seasonal allergens, pollens, viruses, etc. In order to prevent sick building syndrome from happening to your commercial space, we put together a list of things you can do to improve your property’s indoor air-quality.
- Check your ventilation. Inadequate ventilation causes poor circulation and greatly affects your building’s indoor air-quality. A good ventilation system prevents humidity and moisture from gathering in your building, while efficiently removing any airborne contaminants.
- Improve your building’s HVAC system. Your HVAC system works with your ventilation system to remove any unwanted airborne contaminants and humidity from your building’s environment. Improve or upgrade your building’s HVAC system to include temperature controlled ventilation and filtration.
- Replace your building’s filters. HVAC filters and furnace filters may become dirty over time. You should replace your building’s filters at least twice a year.
- Identify and remove potential chemical contaminates. Chemical contaminants contributing to sick building syndrome may include: smoking, carbon monoxide, pesticides, cleaning agents, and/or other outdoor contaminates. Eliminate harmful carcinogens by installing proper ventilation over gas stoves, fireplaces, wood stoves, gas space heaters, etc. Instruct building personnel not to use chemical cleaning agents without proper ventilation. Consider making your property a “smoke free” zone to prevent tobacco smoke from entering your building.
- Search building for biological contaminants. From office pets to improperly stored food, a commercial building can possess a wide range of biological contaminants. These contaminants breed in humid areas, sometimes in stagnant water. Prevent molds and bacteria from affecting your residents by eliminating these “moist” trouble areas in your building. Keep your building clean, this includes: throwing out old food, removing trash promptly, vacuuming/dusting, and keeping windows closed during peak allergy season.
- Hire a professional inspector. Need help inspecting your building? Consider hiring a professional to help you identify indoor air-quality problems.