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September 11, 2012 -
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In trying to maximize a facility's potential for good indoor air quality (IAQ), there's a lot to be done during the design and construction phase of a new building or a significant renovation.
First, select building sites that will minimize the potential for IAQ problems to develop in the future. Three areas of special concern are former waste disposal sites, areas where water accumulation may be a problem, and areas near contamination sources, such as industrial plant emissions.
When designing air handling systems, consider incorporating gas-phase filters. Gas-phase filtration is used to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air stream.
When designing variable air volume (VAV) systems, make sure the system can deliver an established minimum of outside air. As less cooling is required in a space, the VAV unit will reduce the amount of supply air. Unfortunately, this also reduces the amount of fresh air supplied to the room. As a VAV system unloads, the amount of outside air supplied must be held constant, meaning it must become a greater percentage of supply air.
And don't forget, during construction communicate construction project plans and schedules to occupants. It is important that occupants are aware of, and have time to prepare for, construction projects. Try to schedule disruptive portions of the project during unoccupied hours. You can communicate more effectively by having a designated notification site for this type of information in addition to traditional memos and other written notices. You might consider leveraging social media, like Facebook or Twitter for this purpose as well.