Let’s get right to the core of the matter: still air is bad. It makes for unhappy and unhealthy occupants, which makes for unsuccessful facilities. Indeed, if you are a facility manager you have got to ensure that your facility has quality air which means that you have got to make sure its air keeps on moving.
We humans are a delicate lot. Sure, while there are some outliers among us such as firefighters, sled-dog mushers, and ice cream scoopers, for the most part we need to work, sleep, and live within a range of temperatures that is neither too cold nor too hot. We also need to be in areas where the air circulates freely. In fact, air is so important to our professional and personal well being that, according to study out of the University of California, Berkeley, our productivity is directly impacted by the temperature and quality of air we work within. If you think the all-knowing heads at Berkeley are overstating things, go ahead and do some typing in a chilly room. It’s tough. It hurts the knuckles. It deadens the limbs and digits making it difficult to perform most modern-day work tasks.
Temperature Affects Productivity
However, despite the typing-in-the-cold test results, the real temperature threat is the heat. There is plenty of evidence showing that workers’ productivity drops as temperatures pass 77 degrees Fahrenheit, while the Occupational Safety and Health Administration flat out says that temperatures above 100.39 degrees Fahrenheit are dangerous. OSHA even goes as far as to warn that air temperatures of 95.1 degrees Fahrenheit or more are tough on the human body.
What’s even more frightening about stagnant air is that it can make your occupants sick and harm your facility. Air that does not move is air that accrues pollutants and other fun things such as mold and airborne toxins.
What to do
So, what can you, the facility manager, do about all of these bad air problems? First off, you have got to realize that running heating and air conditioning units is not enough. Yes, they will keep the air temperature at the right level; however, they will not replace the old air with the new. Just think about working all day for months on end in a building that is completely sealed, as many facilities are these days. Scary thought, huh?
No, to give your occupants top-quality air, you have got to ventilate your facilities with devices such as traditional fans and high-volume, low-speed fans. Also, make sure you measure your facility’s air flow from time to time using the alert function on whatever work order system you are using.