The pros and cons of increased reliance on building HVAC systems
Eight years ago the U.S. Department of Energy implemented the “Better Buildings Challenge”, an initiative intended to improve the efficiency of U.S. buildings by 20 percent or more by the year 2020. Since then, great strides have been made to minimize energy waste by creating airtight buildings.
Although measurable energy savings is great for the bottom line, the increased reliance on HVAC systems has been a key contributor to poor indoor air quality (IAQ). In fact, indoor air quality is one of the EPA’s top five environmental risks to public health – and a chief contributor to the problem is faulty or poorly maintained HVAC systems.
Unfortunately, deferred maintenance backlogs are often to blame when it comes to poorly maintained HVAC systems. Take air handlers, for example. AHUs are responsible for circulating the air we breathe in buildings, yet far too frequently attention and resources are not paid to ensure their proper care.
Ironically, what buildings have accomplished in terms of improved energy efficiency has directly contributed to poor IAQ. One example of this is stale and stuffy air, which leads the list of complaints made most frequently by building occupants. The root cause? Problematic building ventilation.
Most building occupants don’t give much thought to IAQ and aren’t familiar with the intricacies of building ventilation systems. Why would they? They also don’t know that the condition of a building’s AHUs might very well be a key reason for their physical discomfort, or that Legionella and other bacteria grow as much as 100 times faster in iron-rich waters like in the corroded condensate pan seen below.
Here at AQUIS, restoring the physical and environmental integrity of your AHUs is what we do. In fact, the founding principles of the company were rooted in improving indoor air quality through innovative technology that restores and renews air handlers. Perhaps now is the perfect time to have AQUIS assess the condition of your facility’s AHUs.
To-date, AQUIS has restored thousands of AHUs for hospitals, universities, government organizations, industrial facilities and commercial buildings across the U.S. Our CPR System for AHU refurbishment fosters efforts to improve IAQ because it contains zero VOCs and no detectable odors. It is also the only system of its kind that meets full compliance with ASHRAE 62.1, the standard for ventilation system design and acceptable IAQ, and NFPA 90A, which is a part of the Life Safety Code and is specific to AHUs.