How to Improve Your Office Air
Most of us are aware that outdoor air pollution can damage our health, but did you realize that your indoor air may be doing the same thing? According to studies by the EPA, indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor pollutant levels; indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health.
The EPA recommends three basic strategies to improve indoor air quality: source control, ventilation improvements and air cleaners. Here are some tips for how you can implement these strategies at your own company or office:
Eliminate individual sources of pollution or reduce their emissions
- Implement a No Smoking Policy: Tobacco smoke contains high levels of indoor air pollutants (not to mention the other health implications). Eliminating this from your indoor space is the best way to increase the quality of your air.
- Keep Humidity in Check: Mold and dust mites love moisture so keep your humidity level between 30%-50%. To decrease humidity, open windows, turn on the air conditioner, fix leaky plumbing and do not overwater your plants.
- Get Rid of Dust: Use microfiber cloths for dusting furniture, regularly change the filter in your vacuum cleaner and add a doormat at your entrance to help lessen the dirt and dust brought indoors by the shoes of your employees and visitors. Also, consider changing out your curtains for blinds—the fabric of curtains holds a lot of dust and allergens.
Increase the amount of outdoor air coming indoors
- Open It Up: As long as the temperature and humidity levels permit, open up the doors and windows to let in fresh air.
- Check Your Filters: Minimize contaminants in the air by having the filters of your heating and cooling systems checked and replaced as needed.
- Turn on the Exhaust: The exhaust fan that is. Turn on the exhaust fan in the office kitchen and bathroom to help circulate air in those spaces where moisture likes to stay.
Removing air contaminants
- Add More Plants: Numerous studies have shown that indoor plants eliminate toxic agents from indoor air. Find plants that are known for their air-cleaning qualities such as a rubber plant or Boston fern. Click here for a great list of plant possibilities.
- Stay Away from Synthetic Air Fresheners: While you may enjoy the scent, these products actually emit harmful chemicals into the air. Look at using some great DIY solutions or checkout some of these surprising items that can also be used to freshen the air in your indoor space (think vodka & coffee grounds).
- Invest in an Air Purifier: You need to make sure you purchase an air purifier that eliminates VOCs and does not produce ozone. Click here for things you should know before you shop.
Of course the best strategy to improve your indoor office air is to have it cleaned regularly by a green cleaning company. Here are some great tips for hiring a green cleaning service.
Talk to us: What will you add (or eliminate) from your office this month that will help improve your air quality?
image courtesy of flickr CC/Jonti Bolles