Timberline Blog

Why Proper Ventilation Is Important In Buildings

May 18, 2021 by Timberline

According to ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers), ventilation is defined as the process of supplying outdoor air to or removing indoor air from a dwelling by natural or mechanical means. Such air may or may not have been conditioned.

It’s notable that, in addition to its meaning in the field of engineering, the term is also used in biology. Merriam-Webster defines ventilation as: the circulation and exchange of gases in the lungs or gills that is basic to respiration.

service technichian checking ventilation

At a high level, the combination of these two definitions explains why it’s so important for buildings to have proper ventilation—the health and comfort of the occupants and visitors who rely on a building’s HVAC system to make clean, conditioned air available for people to breathe. And, when a building has proper ventilation, there are many specific benefits that building occupants enjoy.

Below we explain the downside of inadequate air movement and the upside of a well-designed, optimally functioning HVAC system.

How Poor Ventilation Can Hurt Your Business

Low air quality does more than simply make a space less comfortable for occupants. It can impact a business in a variety of ways. For example, there are health risks for employees from breathing “bad” air throughout their day.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): A number of well-identified illnesses, such as asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and humidifier fever, have been directly traced to specific building problems. These are called building-related illnesses. Most of these diseases can be treated; nevertheless, some pose serious health risks and may require prolonged recovery times after leaving the building.

Even if occupants don’t become ill due to poor building ventilation, there can be other consequences. Working in a space that is too warm and humid can make people less productive, for example. And, if the conditions in a building are continually uncomfortable, it can make it harder to hire and retain employees. Plus, customers and clients prefer not to spend time in spaces that have stagnant air, which can hurt a business.

Benefits of the Right HVAC System

Ensuring that indoor spaces are properly ventilated can help a business in many ways. Six of the most important benefits are:

  1. Improved temperature control. In order for an HVAC system to heat or cool the air in a space appropriately, that air must flow through the heating or air conditioning system. When that movement takes place, the temperature in rooms throughout a building can be highly controlled to ensure that they don’t get too warm or too cold.
  2. Improved humidity control. The amount of moisture in the air plays a major role in how comfortable indoor air is. Too much, and everything from a person’s skin to work surfaces feel damp and clammy. Too little, and dry, itchy skin and excessive static electricity can be the result. Adequate ventilation enables HVAC systems to manage humidity levels more effectively.
  3. Increased productivity. Employees who don’t feel drowsy because of a lack of ventilation air are able to stay focused on their work, and that benefits your customers and your business.
  4. Reduced sick time. When employees are ill, they suffer and the company suffers. Continually requiring people to “pitch in” and cover for a sick coworker is stressful for them. It can also be frustrating for customers to have the person they typically work with unavailable. Good indoor air quality supports better health, which means your company can be operating at full capacity more of the time.
  5. Happier customers and other visitors. People don’t want to spend time in a building that is uncomfortable. And, unfortunately, they typically won’t tell you why they’re reluctant to visit. On the flip side, when meeting rooms and other spaces are always at the right temperature and humidity, with good air flow, customers and other visitors find it much more enjoyable to spend time at your location.
  6. More desirable space for potential renters. For building owners, well-ventilated space is much easier to rent than a building with stale, damp, or smelly air. All other factors being equal, renters are more likely to sign a contract for the more comfortable of two spaces.

Better Building Ventilation: Getting Started Is Easy

Especially when a building has multiple air quality problems—temperature control, humidity, odors, etc.—it can feel like resolving them is an insurmountable task or that “there’s no way to know” what’s causing all the issues. However, the truth is that there is a science to improving indoor air quality.

Our HVAC experts can take the mystery out of an air quality problem, quickly pinpointing the cause or causes and recommending a solution for resolving them. In many cases, minor repairs or enhancements to existing equipment are all that is required. And, even if the installation of new or better equipment is necessary, we can handle that efficiently and cost-effectively, as well.

In any event, the first step is contacting Timberline Mechanical to explain the “symptoms” of poor ventilation that occupants are reporting. We can then talk with you about possible causes and how we can address them. Whether you choose to schedule a project at that point or not, having some insight on the challenges you’re facing can be very helpful.

We can also discuss system maintenance best practices. Often, air quality problems can be prevented with regular service and preventive maintenance. Building owners and property managers find that the small expense of keeping their HVAC systems functioning optimally pays off in preventing costly system repairs or equipment replacement down the road.

And, of course, implementing an effective, intelligent HVAC solution in the first place is the best way to prevent problems. That’s why owners and general contractors come to us early in the building process. We collaborate with them to develop a solution that will ensure proper ventilation and excellent indoor air quality that delivers tremendous benefits for occupants and visitors.

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