Proper building ventilation is essential to maintain employee comfort and health in commercial establishments. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks ventilation as the most crucial element in maintaining good indoor air quality. In buildings with low air quality and unsuitable ventilation, occupants may experience headaches, respiratory illness, nausea, fatigue, and poor concentration.
These complaints result in more sick days and decreased work efficiency. A properly designed and maintained ventilation system reduces indoor pollutants, prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi in the system, and refreshes the air.
Many establishment owners prefer proper building ventilation, especially when Covid-19 struck the world into a three-year-long crisis. The need for healthier work environments stems from the pandemic, and that sick building syndrome also has become an issue for organizations worldwide.
If you’re planning to construct a new establishment for your business, this is the perfect time to design a building with adequate ventilation to create a healthier work environment. Before proceeding with the projects, here are some ways to improve the ventilation for your future commercial building.
1. HVAC Maintenance
In establishments where a thermostat can control the HVAC fan operation, to increase building ventilation, remember to set the fan to the “on” mode instead of “auto” when you have visitors or clients.
Doing so allows the fan to still function, even if the air conditioning and heating are not on. Remember to change your HVAC filter every three months or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Ideally, you will also want the ventilation system inspected and adjusted by a professional every year to ensure it is operating efficiently. Installing insulated wall access doors will allow your maintenance personnel convenient access to your HVAC system’s internal fixtures during maintenance and checkups.
2. Exhaust Fans
Installing exhaust fans in all commercial bathrooms and kitchens is an excellent way to improve building ventilation. Exhaust fans work by removing moisture from the air and funnel out bathroom odors for enhanced ventilation and indoor air quality.
They can also minimize the number of fumes present from cleaning products when used in bathrooms. A properly functioning range fan or hood is essential if your commercial building has a kitchen. Kitchen exhaust fans eliminate fumes, heat, grease, and smoke from cooking.
3. Make-up Air Units
If your commercial building requires more ventilation, you can consider installing a make-up air unit. Make-up air units draw in fresh air from outside to “make up” for the air loss that exhaust fans have released.
MUA units enhance a building’s indoor air quality by pumping in fresh outdoor air to dilute or remove airborne contaminants and pollutants. By installing the unit, you can ensure that the building occupants will not experience sick building syndrome as you promote a healthier indoor environment for your staff and clients.
Fan placement is essential and will vary based on room configuration to achieve this safely. Avoid putting fans in areas that could cause polluted air to flow from one person to another. One strategy is to utilize a window fan, placed securely and safely in a window, to transfer room air to the outdoors.
Doing so can help pull outdoor air into the room via other open windows and doors without generating strong room air currents. Similar results can be established in more extensive facilities using other fan systems, such as gable fans and roof ventilators.
There are still various options for improving building ventilation, but these are the most common ones. Some contractors also recommend installing more oversized windows and proper insulation so that the building will still become energy efficient. Adding areas that allow outdoor air to enter the building is also an idea you can write on your list, but it might require professional design help.