What is Indoor Air Quality? Working Definition
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) describes the condition of air inside of a building. The condition of the air is a combination of the chemical, biological, and particulate matter in the air and air temperature and humidity. Indoor Air Quality is important because the condition of the air affects the comfort and health of the people in a building. That means Indoor Air Quality can affect people's productivity and well-being. If the condition of the air is unacceptable, complaints and even law suits can result.
Formal, ASHRAE Definition
One important definition of Indoor Air Quality is found in ASHRAE Standard 62.1. This definition indicates what acceptable indoor air quality is. Note that ASHRAE avoids the words "good" and "bad" as they apply to Indoor Air Quality. You should do the same. Here is the ASHRAE definition:
WHY HVAC OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE IS IMPORTANT FOR IAQ
HVAC systems are a key part in determining the condition of the Indoor Air Quality. Heating and air conditioning determine the indoor temperature and humidity conditions. Ventilation determines how much, and how effectively outdoor air is delivered to occupants. Outdoor air is used to dilute the concentration of chemical, biological, and particulate matter in the air and to reduce odor and other irritants. The system must be designed and installed properly to have acceptable Indoor Air Quality; or they may not be properly operated and maintained.
Important Facts About Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
People spend 80-90% of their time indoors
50% of illness is directly related to the air we breathe
Indoor air is up to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air
60% of our energy comes from the air we breathe
We breathe 200,000 liters of air a day
Gas-phase and odor causing contaminates are present in virtually every home and building
One in three people in the United States suffers from allergies, asthma or respiratory problems
The average family will spend $500-$1500 per year on over the counter or prescription medicine
You can only view 15% of the dust and dirt in the air with the naked eye; the rest is microscopic. The microscopic portion of the particulate is what poses a problem from a health stand point.
Our homes are making us sick due to tight construction. Tight construction, although wonderful for saving energy, is horrendous for Indoor Air Quality. It traps in contamination and does not allow any outside air.
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