Facility Management: An introduction to Indoor Air Quality.

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In this episode we will be covering the ins and outs of indoor air quality with  Rèmy Journet, Business Development Manager at Airthings.

Airthings is a Norwegian global company and producer of indoor equity monitors for homeowners, businesses and professionals. Airthings monitors people’s close environment with simple, affordable, and accurate solutions to help people breathe cleaner air. 

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The Covid-19 pandemic has raised awareness and concern on indoor air quality and how it can impact our health, but there are other reasons worth taking into consideration. Why should indoor air quality be a concern to Facility Managers?

“Global companies tried to take advantage of this pandemic crisis by pretending to be experts in air quality monitoring, but we’ve been doing this for years. Facility Managers have to care about indoor quality because it has numerous impacts on buildings and the wellbeing of inhabitants.” – Rèmy

There are three main topics we cover:

  • Health,
  • Compliance with Regulations,
  • Energy Savings and Sustainability.

“Indoor air quality could have a direct impact on your health, on your wellbeing, on your comfort, but it also has an impact on your productivity. If you are an employee, a student, or a teacher and you are in a bad environment, it will have an impact on your productivity.

Then, there are specific regulations, specific laws that you need to meet based on each country. At the same time, monitoring your indoor air quality can help you reduce your energy consumption. You can be notified when to turn off your ventilation system if there’s no one in the building, for example”. – Rèmy

Monitoring and data collection is important but making decisions and acting based on that data is even more important.

Do you think that the sector still lacks education regarding this topic?

“Awareness surrounding the importance of air quality is growing thanks to the COVID crisis. People are more concerned about indoor quality. But most people and large companies are mainly concerned about CO2 levels, and there’s more to indoor air quality monitoring than just CO2 levels – there are many other parameters. We still need to train people and to help them understand the whole situation.” – Rèmy

Facility Managers must ensure good air quality and preserve the health and wellness of facilities occupants. However, bad indoor air quality can even impact the building itself, right?

Yes, definitely. Especially related to moisture concentration and condensation, which deteriorates buildings.

How can Facility Managers make sure that these monitoring devices and the ventilation system are working properly, and the operation is running smoothly?

“You have to create a global environment that will enable you to manage all the important data collected through IoT devices. Collecting data needs to add value to your ventilation system, to your BMS, CMS or IMMP for example, so you can run the building automatically and easily check if everything is going well. So, you will need a smart environment that allows you to collect data and do something with it”. – Rèmy

To know more about this topic: Healthy Buildings and the IoTs in a Post-Pandemic Context

What is your overall advice to Facility and Maintenance managers?

“My advice is, for sure, to choose the correct solution and to make sure they collect data from the building. They should also be aware of the three different topics we mentioned at the very beginning:

  • Bad indoor air quality has a bad effect on building occupants,
  • They should be following specific rules and legislations related to this topic,
  • Monitoring indoor air quality has a huge impact on ESG topics.

Also, building certifications are a growing topic in Europe. More external parties are now delivering certifications to buildings. to make sure that they’re not having a bad environmental impact. The key is to be more efficient and more responsible with energy consumption.” – Rèmy

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