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Design for Optimal Indoor Air Quality

Clean air is a primary metabolic need for humans, yet Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is an overlooked part of our indoor built environment.  A recent study performed at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health sheds light on the enormous affect IAQ has on our health and productivity.  Given that 90% of our time is spent indoors, it is time to prioritize IAQ in your home and commercial property.

The Harvard T.H Chan COGfx Study demonstrated that improved Indoor Air Quality doubled the cognitive functioning of building occupants.  The performance of study participants averaged 101 percent higher in buildings with enhanced ventilation compared to those in conventional buildings. Crisis response, information usage and strategy were the categories with the largest improvements in cognitive function.  In dollars and cents, the team demonstrated that on a commercial property this works out to an investment of between $1 to $40 per person per year yielding $6,500 in improved productivity per person per year.

Ask yourself: “Would I want my employees or my family to respond to crises in a more effective way?”  According to the COGfx study, crisis response scores are 131 percent higher in buildings with high Indoor Air Quality.

Ask yourself: “Is utilizing information important to my workplace and family?”  According to the COGfx study information usage scores are 299 percent higher than in buildings with high Indoor Air Quality.

And ask yourself: “Is it important to have my employees and family thinking strategically?”  COGfx scores on simply strategy tests were 288 percent higher in buildings with high Indoor Air Quality.

Northwest Renewables offers two primary turnkey solutions, Energy Recovery Ventilators and ductless minisplits, for creating and maintaining optimal Indoor Air Quality in a new-construction or retrofit situation.  Each system offers the occupant the ability to easily clean their ventilation system without the need for a service call, and more importantly each system minimizes or eliminates dust, allergen and VOC trapping duct-work.

In the end the COGfx study is yet another story of false dilemmas, whereby our society’s focus on project and operating cost leads to a code-defined “acceptable indoor air quality.”  This acceptable level has in-fact been hamstringing our potential, and is far from desirable.  Let’s begin designing for our potential.  That potential requires Optimal Indoor Air Quality.

–Gavin Tenold