Creating the Productive Workplace

By Derek Clements-Croome | Go to book overview

Chapter 9

Assessment of link between productivity and indoor air quality

Charles E. Dorgan and Chad B. Dorgan

An assessment of the health status of all commercial buildings in the United States was made based on nineteen research reports and related information on indoor air quality projects, and medical and epidemiology evaluations of existing reports and papers. This information was used to determine the cost to bring all buildings up to ASHRAE Standard 62-1989 and other accepted indoor air quality (IAQ) practice. The productivity benefits were determined: both employee-related productivity benefits and general customer or client benefits. An evaluation of annual cost to sustain the IAQ measures in buildings was included in the study. The study determined the 'healthy building' status of existing buildings by commercial type and five US climatic regions. The economic productivity return for bringing all buildings up to our defined ASHRAE 62-1989 level is recovered in about half a year. However, for a specific building this can range from weeks to several years. Many buildings in the current inventory are very close to ASHRAE 62-1989, and these require only a small investment to bring them up to this level.


Introduction

Due to the large portion of time, up to 95 per cent (ASHRAE, 1993), an average individual spends indoors, the quality of the indoor environment has a significant effect on the health and productivity of employees and other occupants and visitors to commercial buildings. The indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is composed of factors such as space, temperature, humidity, noise, lighting, interior design and layout, building envelope, and structural systems. A subset of the IEQ is indoor air quality (IAQ). The factors that define IAQ are temperature, humidity, room air motion and contaminants.

When IAQ is not satisfactory, both employee and other building occupants' health can be impacted, resulting in work degradation and dissatisfaction by customers. This results in a reduction in productivity. With poor IAQ, employees can suffer significant health and productivity degradation. Productivity is a measure of the quality/quantity of accomplishments actually completed by an employee compared to what could be accomplished

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