Dallas, TX / June 5, 2019 / -- In November this past year, leaders from every corner of the world, including health ministers, national government officials, academics, and representatives from the medical, energy, and environmental sectors came together to attend the first World Health Organization (WHO) Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health in Geneva to discuss the problem of air pollution, the need for solutions like commercial air filtration systems, and clean energy among other things.
Oddly enough, the conference did not see the attendance of corporate leaders, which may suggest that corporations and other private enterprises don’t consider air pollution as a primary cause of concern.
Why Businesses Should Prioritize Improving Air Quality
“Businesses need to view clean air as an invisible product that’s integral to their operations,” said Camfil USA’s Charlie Seyffer, Manager of Marketing & Technical Materials for commercial air filters and 37-year ASHRAE member and active committee participant. “The impact of air quality first came to light with research on sick building syndrome in the 1980s, which paved the way for large-scale productivity studies in workplaces and schools during the late 1990s.”
These studies all tell us the same thing which is that good ventilation to ensure fresh air circulates indoors can improve workplace productivity by as much as 10 percent. And with the growing body of literature proving that polluted air is harmful to human health, improved air quality has evolved from simply being good to have in offices and other types of workplaces, to being an absolute necessity to support good employee health, productivity, and other intangible benefits.
Below are a few more reasons why clean air is important for businesses.
Indoor Air Quality is Important for Profitability and Low Operating Costs
In recent years, air pollution has become a critical public health issue, singled out as a primary factor behind 7 million premature deaths, according to the WHO. In Europe alone, poor outdoor and indoor air quality accounts for 310,000 premature deaths, representing a growing threat to the economies of fast-developing countries.
In fact, the WHO director-general argued that air pollution might as well be the new tobacco given how dangerous it is to human health. From a business standpoint, however, air pollution is also a major economic problem. It’s estimated that poor air quality costs the global economy up to $225 billion each year in lost labor income alone. Air pollution, which itself is usually a byproduct of traffic congestion, not only disrupts daily operations for businesses, it can also affect the productivity of workers
“The common assumption is that staying indoors is enough to protect you from poor outdoor air quality,” said Seyffer. “But dirty air from the outside can penetrate indoor spaces through gaps and cracks on the walls, floors, ceilings, doors, and windows.
In fact, a study found that air pollution is making people worse at their jobs, even if all they do is work indoors at a desk.
Preventing Sick Days with Commercial HVAC Air Filters
With poor air quality posing a serious risk to employee health, it’s no surprise why air pollution has been found to lead to more sick days among workers. Among businesses in Central London, for example, air pollution is a factor behind more than 650,000 sick days every year. If anything, this proves that commercial HVAC air filters and their ability to capture and remove indoor air pollutants from indoor spaces can ensure the health and productivity of employees.
But air pollution also has consequences that go beyond its usual physical effects. For example, cities suffering from severe air pollution issues are generally seen as less desirable places to work and live. This, in turn, can make it a challenge for companies to recruit and keep talent.
According to a 2015 survey commissioned by the American Chamber of Commerce in China and Bain & Company, as much as 53 percent of American companies with offices in Chinese cities have experienced challenges in hiring senior executives due to the problem of urban air pollution. This increase is up from 48 percent in 2014 and 34 percent in 2013, which suggests that the air quality may be getting worse.
These findings are hardly surprising, as many of China’s cities have the worst air quality in the whole world.
Last but not least, air pollution has also been found to affect profits. A study by researchers from Yale revealed that consumers in Spain reduce their spending by approximately $50 million on days when ozone pollution is higher by 10 percent than on ordinary days.
Industrial Air Filtration Systems May Protect Your Brand Image
When it comes right down to it, almost every business contributes more to air pollution compared to ordinary consumers. Whether it’s through their supply chains or day-to-day operations, businesses are often unknowingly generating air pollution from burning fuels for heating buildings, cooking activities, and the use of cars and trucks to transport goods. Industrial air filtration systems provide a way to keep airborne pollutants from being released into the atmosphere, which not only protects your staff but also your brand image.
Similar to how human rights advocates succeeded in tying sweatshops and deplorable working conditions to businesses, today’s consumers, who are growing more and more environmentally conscious, expect companies to be responsible, or at the very least, conscious, about their impact on the environment.
This means that understanding your company’s environmental impact and air pollution footprint may very well help you get new business and keep your existing clients or partners loyal to your brand.
Which Industrial Air Filters Should You Get?
Commercial buildings present unique challenges when it comes to air filters. For starters, the first concern will always be protecting employees and other building occupants from airborne contaminants that may affect their short-term and long-term health.
But you also have to consider whether your choice of air filter will help your HVAC system run efficiently, otherwise, you might end up doing more harm than good due to higher maintenance and cleaning costs.
You also have to consider the presence of gaseous pollutants. Although particulate matter (PM) is the most common type of pollutant that causes health problems in people, odors and gases may also affect the comfort and well-being of your employees. In this case, you will need an air filter that uses activated carbon, which absorbs gases and chemical fumes.
Choosing Air Filters and Air Purification Systems for Commercial and Business Use
For business and commercial facilities located in areas with high levels of air pollution, such as freeways, factories, and power generation facilities, air purification systems and proper air filters provide what is perhaps the most effective way to keep air inside offices, conference rooms, and lobbies clean and safe to breathe.
Efficient air filtration also protects workers from airborne pollutants generated by indoor sources, such as construction materials, manufacturing chemicals and raw materials, office equipment, new furniture, and activities involving heating, lighting, and cooking.
For this reason, any air purification system you choose for business purposes must consider these factors:
- The presence of any particular type of airborne pollutants inside and outside the building or facility
- The most common sources of indoor air pollution
- The size of the offices and rooms that need air filtration
When in doubt, talk to the air filter experts of Camfil USA to find the best commercial air filtration solutions for your business’s indoor air quality needs. For more information on air filter products designed to fit the air filtration needs of your unique industry, get in touch with Camfil USA or visit: https://www.camfil.com/en-us/
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