Ask the Expert: Healthy Facilities

How does IAQ affect perceptions of our facilities?

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) directly relates to facility health and cleanliness, so when IAQ suffers, the general perception of your institution is also at risk.

For example, 60 percent of people said they would inspect a school’s restroom quality before making the decision to enroll, according to a 2015 survey from Cascades Tissue Group. In bathrooms and other common areas, the cleanliness of air is integral to our perceptions. Germs, volatile organic compounds and odors not only make environments unpleasant, but also make them less healthy.

The memory of something as simple as walking into a room where the air feels stale or makes you drowsy sticks with you. Now, imagine losing productivity every day because your learning environment causes symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and eye irritation. In many facilities, in which air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, this is a reality.

Air quality also affects how seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, can rapidly spread around a campus. Dormitories, classrooms, health centers and offices all contain common areas that can be contaminated by airborne germs from a single cough or sneeze. Germs can then remain airborne for extended periods of time and travel remarkably far distances (sometimes more than 200 feet). Sick students and staff lead to reduced productivity and increased absenteeism, which in turn negatively affects perception.

Air purification, along with source control and increased ventilation, is integral to improving IAQ in these facilities and promoting healthier and cleaner campuses.

This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.

About the Author

Jeff Dryfhout, global marketing director for AeraMax Professional, champions efforts to improve indoor air quality within organizations as the next frontier in well being.

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