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Posted on: December 12th, 2010 by admin

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Who is responsible for indoor air quality?

Posted on: January 1st, 2009 by admin

More and more business executives today are looking beyond just the bottom line. Realizing that they are responsible for the indoor air quality (IAQ) in their buildings, they have pledged to work towards improving the quality of the air in the buildings they own or occupy.

Realizing that a lack of education can be part of the problem of poor IAQ, many companies are now becoming pro-active in getting educated about IAQ and implementing comprehensive IAQ programs in their buildings.

  1. In their search for knowledge, they discover that many office buildings have significant air pollution sources (such as some copy machines, sinks, floor drains, plumbing problems, dirty HVAC systems, roof leaks, incorrect waste disposal, construction materials and processes, etc.) and some buildings are inadequately ventilated, usually from their ventilation system being poorly designed or improperly operated therefore not providing adequate amounts of outdoor air.
  2. Another thing they are amazed at is that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks indoor air pollution as one of top five environmental threats to public health. EPA studies have shown that indoor pollutant levels are often 2-5 times higher than those found outdoors. Since people spend the majority of their time indoors, the workplace is the location where exposure to indoor contaminants is of the highest concern.

    Indoor air pollutants can increase the risk of illness. In the workplace, increasing health problems will result in decreasing productivity and attendance. One of the environmental problems caused by poor indoor air quality is Sick Building Syndrome. Sick Building Syndrome and Building Related Illness are terms used to describe the negative health effects and illnesses directly related to the time spent in a building. Lawsuits directed at building owners and employers have become more frequent as people realize that there is a relationship between poor indoor air quality and the illnesses it may cause.

  3. Many contaminants that contribute to poor indoor air quality are found in the HVAC system. In an October 1997 report the EPA stated that if not properly maintained, air duct components may become contaminated with particles of dust or other debris. If moisture is present, the potential for microbiological growth is increased and mold spores may be released in the indoor environment. Cleaning a dirty and improperly maintained HVAC System will significantly improve indoor air quality.
  4. Companies are also concerned about the connection between ventilation systems and energy efficiency. In 1999, the EPA completed an extensive modeling study to assess the compatibilities and trade-offs between energy, indoor air quality, and thermal comfort objectives for HVAC systems, and to help formulate strategies to simultaneously achieve superior performance on each objective.

Below is a quote taken from the Executive Summary of the EPA’s “Energy Cost and IAQ Performance of Ventilation Systems and Controls” report.

Purpose and scope of this report

In its 1989 Report to Congress on Indoor Air Quality, the United States Environmental Protection Agency provided a preliminary assessment of the nature and magnitude a indoor air quality pollution, and the types of controls and policies which can be used to improve the air quality in the nation’s building stock. In that report, EPA estimated that the economic losses to the nation due to indoor air quality pollution was in the “tens of billions” of dollars per year, and suggested that because of the relative magnitude of operating costs, labor costs and rental revenue in most buildings, it is possible that modest investments toward improved indoor air quality would generate substantial returns. (emphasis added)

This project is part of that effort. Adequate ventilation is a critical component of design and management practices needed for good indoor air quality. Yet, the energy required to run the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system constitutes about half of a building’s energy cost. Since energy efficiency can reduce operating costs and because the burning of fossil fuel is a major source of greenhouse gases, energy efficiency has become an important concern to the building industry and the promotion of efficient energy utilization has become a matter of public policy. It is important, therefore, to examine the relationship between energy use and indoor air quality performance of ventilation systems. (emphasis added)

View the full EPA report

For a full assessment of the state of your system’s health, call us!

Anderson Air Conditioning/AMS
1872 N. Case Street, Orange, CA 92865
(714) 998-6850

 

The Law Concerning HVAC System Operation, Inspections, and Maintenance

Posted on: January 11th, 2008 by admin

Title 8, California Code of Regulations, CAL/OSHA Standards

Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders

Group 16. Control of Hazardous Substances

Article 107. Dusts, Fumes, Mists, Vapors and Gases

§5142. Mechanically Driven Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems to Provide Minimum Building Ventilation.

(a) Operation:

(1) The HVAC system shall be maintained and operated to provide at least the quantity of outdoor air required by the State Building Standards Code, Title 24, Part 2, California Administrative Code, in effect at the time the building permit was issued.

(2) The HVAC system shall be operated continuously during working hours except:

(A) during scheduled maintenance and emergency repairs;

(B) during periods not exceeding a total of 90 hours per calendar year when a serving electric utility by contractual arrangement requests its customers to decrease electrical power demand; or

(C) during periods for which the employer can demonstrate that the quantity of outdoor air supplied by non-mechanical means meets the outdoor air supply rate required by (a)(1) of this Section. The employer must have available a record of calculations and/or measurements substantiating that the required outdoor air supply rate is satisfied by infiltration and/or by a non-mechanically driven outdoor air supply system.

(b) Inspection and Maintenance:

(1) The HVAC system shall be inspected at least annually, and problems found during these inspections shall be corrected within a reasonable time.

(2) Inspections and maintenance of the HVAC system shall be documented in writing. The employer shall record the name of the individual(s) inspecting and/or maintaining the system, the date of the inspection and/or maintenance, and the specific findings and actions taken. The employer shall ensure that such records are retained for at least five years.

(3) The employer shall make all records required by this section available for examination and copying, within 48 hours of a request, to any authorized representative of the Division (as defined in Section 3207), to any employee of the employer affected by this section, and to any designated representative of said employee of the employer affected by this section.

NOTE: Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code.

For a full assessment of the state of your system’s health, call us!

Anderson Air Conditioning/AMS
1872 N. Case Street, Orange, CA 92865
(714) 998-6850