Do you remember in 2019 when no one thought twice about the air they were breathing in every day? Now, it’s important to stop and think about how we can improve the air in our spaces as we try to get back to pre-pandemic life. In March 2022, the federal government released the National Covid-19 Preparedness Plan alongside the EPA’s Clean Air in Buildings Challenge. Their goal is to build public awareness around ventilation and filtration improvements so that we can reduce the spread of illness in buildings.
The intention is to achieve cleaner air in indoor public spaces and office buildings by educating occupants and building managers on proper air quality techniques. These include: properly ventilating a space, using portable air filtration, updating and monitoring HVAC units. The American Rescue Plan provided $350 billion for state and local governments, as well as $122 billion for schools, which can be used to support upgrades to ventilation and filtration.
The EPA’s Clean Air in Buildings Challenge has established guidelines to help building managers make educated decisions on a space’s air quality needs. Their guidelines encourage using monitoring techniques to determine how clean the outdoor air that you are bringing inside is. HVAC experts can use monitoring software to determine how well your HVAC systems are working. Increasing ventilation can help to circulate the air and introduce clean air to occupants. This is especially important in spaces with many people to help reduce the spread of airborne illnesses. Another guideline is to optimize the amount of outdoor air coming into the building — but first, you need to understand what is in that air.
Another EPA guideline is to introduce advanced monitoring software to track the CO2, VOC, and humidity in the air, so occupants know how clean the air they are breathing is. These three factors can determine how safe the air is to breathe and how much airborne contaminants are being spread to building occupants. Building owners, facility managers, and technicians should introduce monitoring to reduce risks of spreading airborne disease, identify areas that inhibit occupant wellbeing, and detect anomalies like mold growth. Understanding what needs to be fixed is crucial in order to make informed decisions.
The most important thing to do is start! The EPA encourages building managers to begin by making a plan to improve their indoor air quality. This way you can set goals and take well-defined steps to clean the air. The last important guideline is to engage your community in your plan. The air that we breathe can have serious effects on us, so it is important that we take action and be transparent with the people breathing it.
The experts at qlair can help you get started with air quality monitoring and HVAC monitoring software. With qlair you’ll be able to see real-time data about your indoor air quality in order to make improvements to ensure the health and safety of your building’s occupants. We all want to be back to our pre-pandemic lifestyles, let’s make sure we do it safely! Contact qlair today to discuss your air quality needs and see how we can help you complete the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge!