The United States Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) ranks poor indoor air quality as one of the top five most urgent environmental risks to public health. Studies have found that indoor air pollution is between two and five times greater than outdoor pollution levels; this is due to a combination of degrading outdoor pollution which becomes trapped indoors, chemicals, allergens and volatile compounds (VOCs).
The crisis surrounding clean air has never been more important. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the majority of Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, and nearly 200,000 Americans are thought to die from air pollution annually – regarding it as the number one environmental cause of premature mortality.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a major concern to businesses, schools, facility managers, tenants, and workers because it can impact the health, comfort, wellbeing, and productivity of the building occupants. AirRated recognizes the dangers of poor IAQ, and proactively aims to improve indoor environments for everyone affected.
Within the commercial sector, our AirScore assessment operates within core office hours (10:00 to 16:00 Monday to Friday) to give a precise and realistic representation of your space.
On average, office workers spend approximately 40 hours a week in an indoor office environment, and air quality is becoming an increasingly important concern for companies, employees and the government as a result.
Air pollution in the office environment can have a significant impact on work performance and worker’s productivity, health and cognitive ability.
Pollution levels are even higher amongst buildings located in urban areas that are exposed to road traffic, industrial processes and construction activities.
A 1989 EPA report to Congress found that improving indoor air quality can result in higher productivity and lower levels of absenteeism. Statistics from the World Green Building Council found the impact of real office work over time to be significantly and substantially affected by changes in indoor air quality with improved ventilation resulting in 11% gains in productivity.
By registering your building for an AirScore, you can benefit from understanding the health of your indoor space, accessing higher rental premiums, future-proofing against policy changes and demonstrating your commitment to the health of your inhabitants.
The WHO reports that globally, 3.8 million people a year die from illnesses attributable to indoor air pollution and that 80-90% of our health outcomes are tied to where and how we live, highlighting how critical indoor air quality really is.
In the United States, major indoor air pollutant radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer – responsible for almost 20,000 deaths each year. With individuals spending more time at home as a result of growing hybrid work approaches, poor household indoor air quality is an increasing long-term public health issue.
Studies from the House Observations of Microbial and Environmental Chemistry (the world’s first large-scale collaborative investigation into the chemistry of indoor air), have found that combined emissions of people and their daily activities, such as cooking and cleaning, can produce high levels of household air pollution. This can cause non-communicable diseases such as stroke, heart disease, and lung cancer. The level of exposure increases when these activities take place in poorly ventilated dwellings.
An AirScore allows our clients to proactively show they’re prioritizing the health and wellbeing of their occupants, as well as increasing the value of your property. An extensive survey carried out by the World Green Building Council in 2018 reported that certified properties are likely to increase in value by between seven and 11%, compared to non-certified buildings.
For residential buildings, our environmental survey monitors data for 24 hours, across seven days, to provide the most relevant assessment of your space.
Air pollution in the classroom affects both children and staff.
In the United States, the average elementary-aged pupil will spend 940 hours in school per year, so the school’s indoor air quality can have a major impact on a child’s health and academic performance. Children are particularly vulnerable to poor indoor air quality as they breathe at a much faster rate than adults, and inhale polluted air 2-3 times as much as adults.
This can have an adverse impact on lung development, brain development and lead to asthma or childhood cancer. Long term exposure to air pollution during the school day can also degrade productivity, energy levels and reduce mental performance for both students and staff. A study by the American School Health Association reported that every 100ppm increase in CO2 was associated with roughly one half-day per year reduction in school attendance.
Improving air quality has a huge impact on both the health and performance of students and staff.
Our public sector survey is adapted on a situational basis to ensure that your AirScore provides an accurate representation of your space.
With over 24 million people employed in the public sector in the US, providing an environment that values staff health and wellbeing is vital. Being awarded an AirScore means that you can ensure your building meets global air quality standards.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates that improving IAQ in offices could boost the US economy by as much as $20 billion annually; investment into healthier buildings can yield huge financial benefits long-term.
There is an abundance of research and economic studies surrounding the issues of indoor air pollution, with international organizations like the WHO recommending a widespread improvement of IAQ, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While federal laws in the US, such as the Occupational Exposure Limit, prevent adverse health effects in the workplace, the EPA recommends frequent measuring and monitoring of Indoor Air Quality. Demand for building certifications has grown significantly worldwide, particularly across Europe and the US.
An insights survey conducted by Carbon Lighthouse looking at over 1,000 US consumers found that 91% of respondents believe IAQ to be a crucial element in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Similarly, 76% agreed that an IAQ ‘rating system’ at the entrance would help them feel more comfortable when entering the building.
As part of the AirRated AirScore package, facility managers and building owners can ensure that their buildings deliver safe IAQ. They can also more easily communicate their efforts and the impact of improving IAQ to their employees in order to drive occupancy, build long-term business reliance and promote economic recovery.