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Health-forward IAQ Management Can Act as a “North Star” to Guide Efficiency Initiatives

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

xray graphic of lungs with air molecules with north star bright light above

"Our moral imperative is to set health metrics as our constant to guide natural and mechanical HVAC settings."

With the emphasis on meeting net zero goals and making buildings more sustainable, much of the focus in building management has been on energy use in recent years. In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic increased both focus and fear on airborne viral transmission and consequently managing air in occupied spaces. Best practices for IAQ management recommended high ventilation rates regardless of energy consumption, and when this resulted in high energy costs, other solutions such as air-cleaning and filtration became increasingly popular.

Health Equity and Wellbeing for Buildings

It may feel like managing a building to support both occupant health and low energy consumption are mutually exclusive, but by using a real-time IAQ health index as the “North Star” for managing the indoor environment, it’s possible to find the sweet spot between the two. HVAC operations and other IAQ interventions can be employed, adjusted, or interchanged based on their energy costs - all while maintaining a space that supports the health of those inside. Building4Health is a new health tech startup that has created a real-time IAQ health score called B4H Vital Signs designed to evaluate the impact of the indoor environment on the human body. This creates an opportunity for the first time to visualize and manage indoor air in a timely manner to optimize the impact for occupants and efficiency overall.

Health equity and wellbeing are essential pieces of the sustainability puzzle and we have both a moral imperative to prioritize them, and an opportunity to explore how they can help us manage buildings efficiently.

Get in touch with B4H and let us know what questions you have to improve your indoor air quality focused on health.

Note: This article was adapted from the original article published in Engineered Systems, September, 2022 by Stephanie Taylor, MD.

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