So, here’s what we know:
- India has 13 of the top 20 worst air quality Cities of the World out of a survey of 1600 Cities by the World health Organization. Frankly, in my opinion, 20 out of the top 20 are in India, the rest just haven’t been surveyed yet.
- We also know that indoor air quality is typically 5-10 times worse than the outdoor air.
- We know that if you are breathing outdoor air, you are smoking an average of 20 cigarettes daily, just by breathing.
- Breathing air rich in PM2.5 affects our health and performance and reduces our lifespan.
Well, if we already know all of this then IAQ is not a ‘nice to have,’ but really more a ‘compliance’ issue to meet occupational standards of safety and health.
I am not a proponent of portable units(air purifiers) in the workplace, especially in offices with a high density of workers per square foot. Here are the reasons:
- You allow polluted air in and then are scrambling to clean the air with portables, after the fact.
- For the portables to be successful you need a fairly sealed environment.
- While you filter the air for PM2.5 and Volatile Organic Compounds(VOCs), the Carbon Dioxide levels will start to rise with all the workers breathing in close proximity in a sealed environment. CO2 is also a pollutant and will lower performance and make you lethargic and sleepy.
- Each year you need to throw the consumable filters into landfills, so it creates more waste.
The optimal solution for businesses (offices, gyms, hotels, hospitals, restaurants, cinemas, etc) is to retrofit their existing HVAC sytems(AHUs & TFAs) with Electronic Air Cleaners(EAC) that are MERV 14 rated, or better – we call this Central Air Purification. Combine this with real time monitoring, so you don’t take your eye off the ball. Benefits of Central Air Purification include the following:
- You filter the air at the source, so no dirty air enters the premises. Your coils, ducts and FCUs(if any), will not require frequent cleaning.
- It is possible to create a slight positive pressure, so that each time the doors open, filter air goes out and no polluted air enters the building.
- The HVAC systems are designed to introduce 10-30% outdoor air so that the CO2 levels are maintained.
- Electronic Air Cleaners do not require expensive filter changes, only a cleaning each month.
- The EACs replace the existing media filters on the AHUs and TFAs and have a lower pressure drop, this leads to some energy savings as well.
- Real time monitoring, with alerts helps you diagnose problems as they come along, so that you can troubleshoot and take the appropriate steps immediately.
Nirvana Being is a leader in the Central Air Purification domain in India with clients across verticals. They have a combination of solutions for Indoor air quality and Indoor Environment Quality, which includes the treatment of the surfaces as well to achieve an allergy friendly space which meets all Global standards of occupational safety and health. More information about Nirvana Being’s Central Air Purification is available at https://www.nirvanabeing.com/central-air-purification/.