Measuring Facility Occupant Perceptions of IAQ
October 3, 2011
In an increasingly data-driven facility management culture, facility managers want to be sure not only that they're providing the best indoor air quality, but also that they have the data to prove it.
But you could have a stack of documents proving compliance with good indoor air quality practices and if the occupants of the facility are nevertheless unsatisfied with the indoor air quality, you could still have an indoor air quality problem.
One strategy is to benchmark what is normal for the facility occupants, what is good. Simply ask occupants for their opinion of the indoor air quality. Do an occupant satisfaction survey, the results of which can provide another indoor air quality metric — one you can easily benchmark against as time goes on.
Pay attention to occupants, encourage them to let you know about issues and show them you're not writing them off as the crank complainer or some kind of hypochondriac.
Feedback and complaints from occupants are really valuable sources of information, but also look at absenteeism rates and health care costs. Trends in those metrics may provide insight into how good the building's indoor air quality is.
Admittedly, not many facility managers pursue these kinds of measurements when thinking about indoor air quality. But after all, it's the occupants who are affected, and complain or worse, about indoor air quality. It only makes sense to take their temperature as well.