Eight Simple Steps to Improve Conditions When No Obvious Air Quality Problem is Identified
Fires, Ozone Levels, Particulate Levels, Santa Ana Winds and Global Warming - we hear much about these outdoor pollutants and all of these do affect indoor air quality. However, these are not ordinary conditions but extraordinary conditions that have a major effect on the quality of the air inside a home, school or public building.
Indoor air quality may also be affected in a subtle manner by very ordinary conditions as well. The USEPA has compiled a checklist for facility managers to review the various factors that may have a negative impact on the air quality inside a building. This checklist, originally developed for use in schools, is long (5 pages) and not necessarily user friendly.
Rather than concentrating on a checklist which may focus attention to items not pertinent to a specific structure, heating, ventilating and air conditioning configuration (HVAC) or air velocity from supply or exhaust vents, or other building components, it may be easier and more beneficial to conduct a walkthrough and simply focus on the general condition of the space. This simple 8 element guideline should help.
The walkthrough should focus on the following eight elements:
Once you have conducted your walkthrough, review your notes and examine the findings for items you can change. For example, if the space is cluttered, perhaps additional storage in the form of shelves, bins or boxes may help organize the space. Additional mopping or general housekeeping may be needed. Water intrusion or mold growth may require the assistance of professionals.
Building occupants may accept current conditions or they may be express their dissatisfaction with conditions. Keep occupants informed of your building walkthrough investigation and the manner that unsatisfactory items will be addressed so they know they are being heard and conditions are being addressed. Often you may not find a “smoking gun” or one big element that compromises indoor air quality, but each small change will improve the indoor air quality.
Our environmental health and safety professionals can answer your questions. For more information contact Alta at (562) 495-5777.