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Energy-Efficient Buildings Have a Problem

05.24.19 Blog Post PROTEK

by Ian de la Rocha, PROTEK Digital Marketing Fellow

Energy-Efficient buildings are a phenomenal breakthrough in building energy usage. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings gain awards and praise for their minimal climate impact and cleanliness. Today we’ll discuss energy-efficient buildings that aren’t LEED-certified.

In buildings where energy-efficient measures have been taken, such as insulation work, the initial thought is energy expenses have been decreased.  The building is warmer or cooler and the ecological footprint has been minimized. While this is true, there are hidden cons that aren’t talked about when making a building more energy-efficient.

The problem occurs when windows are sealed shut and fresh air is scarce. If the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of a building is low then this poses a health risk to the employees in a building.

IAQ can be caused by a variety of factors, namely:

  • Dust collection
  • Pathogen build up from a lack of sanitation
  • Fungi growth from moisture
  • Airborne chemical exposure

Additionally, all of these can cause:

  • Eye and skin irritation
  • Headaches and nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Respiratory illnesses such as Asthma

It’s important to make sure that insulated and energy-efficient buildings have had their ducts cleaned and sanitized. IAQ is pertinent for employees and the workplace alike, and a factor in becoming a LEED-certified building. If IAQ goes ignored the alternative is employee absenteeism, increased healthcare premiums, and lowered employee productivity. Only YOU can prevent low IAQ!

 

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