Indoor Air Quality Services

What is Indoor Air Quality and why might it be important to you?

In a general sense, Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a term referring to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants.

IAQ is important in the workplace because poor indoor air quality often contributes to discomfort or allergy-like symptoms in sensitive individuals. This discomfort tends to increase sick days, increase employee turnover and decrease employee morale. All three of these problems decrease productivity in an organization and negatively impact the bottom line.

IAQ can be negatively affected by microbial contaminants (mold, bacteria), gases (including carbon monoxide, radon, volatile organic compounds), particulates, etc. that can induce adverse health conditions. Using ventilation to dilute contaminants, filtration, contaminant removal and source control are the primary methods for improving indoor air quality in most buildings.

At AES, we specialize in determining if your home or working environment has an indoor air quality issue and if it does, how to eliminate the problem in a cost effective manner.

Routinely, AES works with clients to determine if their ventilation system is providing adequate outdoor air exchange as defined by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Sometimes the office equipment found in nearly all modern day offices (copiers, printers, plotters, etc.) gives off excessively high levels of very small particulates called ultrafines. For a sensitive individual, these ultrafines can create significant respiratory irritation. AES can measure the levels of these ultrafines to determine if your office equipment may be compromising the air quality in your office.

Representative Case Studies

AES worked with a client in Florida to safely remove the walls of two six-story supply airshafts that were covered with fungal growth. The mold remediation was performed over weekends and holidays to allow the Class A office building to remain fully functional during the regular M-F workweek.

In California, AES discovered that the lack of a vapor barrier under a concrete slab and adverse vapor pressures combined to promote fungal growth in the carpeting throughout the first floor of a newly built class A office Building. AES developed a remediation plan to allow the removal of the affected carpeting with minimal disruption to the tenants. With the assistance of the client’s contractor, AES developed a procedure for sealing the concrete slab to prevent future moisture intrusion and future fungal growth.

High winds tore a portion of the roof off a building in the Twin Cities area allowing rainwater to enter the building. The building owner retained a disaster recovery contractor to dry out the building. AES was also retained as an independent third party to oversee the drying out process and to provide guidance to the building owner. Using moisture meters, and an infrared camera AES was able to trace the path of the moisture down three floors to wet areas that were initially undiscovered. Including these hidden areas in the initial insurance claim saved the building owner time and money and prevented future Indoor Air Quality problems that may have arisen once the building was reoccupied.


Mold

Mold is a key concern for clients with potential indoor air quality problems. AES has discovered and consulted with clients regarding fungal growth problems in hundreds of buildings throughout the country.

Mold can create serious health problems. Mold spores are in the air all the time and it is fairly easy to create conditions that will promote the growth of molds.

Some of the more common places AES has discovered hidden fungal growth include:

▪  Behind vinyl wall coverings on exterior walls. The vinyl wall coverings may act as a vapor barrier trapping moisture intrusion or water vapor condensation behind it.

▪  Behind vinyl wall coverings on interior walls following some type of flood or moisture intrusion event.

▪  Inside supply air ducts running underneath the concrete slab of the lowest level of the home or building. The presence of water in the air ducts allows fungal growth to occur. The air flowing through the air ducts has the potential to spread the fungal spores throughout the building.

▪  Underneath non-breathable chair mats or walk off mats placed over carpeting installed on the lowest level of a building.

▪  Inside plumbing pipe chases. Again, pipes can leak and go undetected for months (especially steam leaks). fungal growth will occur. The problem is exacerbated when floor penetrations underneath ventilation units allow moldy air to be sucked from the tunnels or crawl spaces up into the building.

These and many other conditions can promote the growth of harmful molds. AES staff can help discover these problems and suggest ways to correct them.

 

© AES, Inc. 2012