New global study supports healthy buildings as a critical public health strategy
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida, 9 September 2021: For the first time on a global scale, new research has found that healthy buildings with enhanced ventilation can improve the cognitive function and health of occupants, suggesting that ventilation and filtration are pre-eminent healthy building strategies, Carrier Global Corporation said through a Press release. Primary support for the study came from Carrier.
The study, COGfx Study 3: Global Buildings, was led by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as part of the renowned COGfx Study series, which examines the impact of indoor air quality on how people think and feel, Carrier said.
The latest study supports the prior studies’ lab and US findings and further supports that indoor air quality is not only good for people’s health and safety, it’s good for the bottom line, as well – through increased productivity, fewer sick days and better cognitive function, Carrier said.
“As more people move toward returning to offices, schools and recreational activities, the health, safety and intelligence of indoor environments have come into greater focus,” said Dave Gitlin, Chairman & CEO, Carrier. “The COGfx Study continues to demonstrate that proper ventilation and filtration of indoor environments plays an important role across the globe in fostering a proactive health strategy. At Carrier, we are focused on delivering innovative solutions and services that positively impact the health, productivity and cognitive performance of occupants of all buildings.”
The COGfx Study 3: Global Buildings examined the impact of indoor air quality on the cognitive function of office workers across six countries – China, India, Mexico, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The research found that cognitive function declines as the levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and carbon dioxide (CO2) increase, Carrier said, referencing the study. Higher CO2 can be an indicator of poor ventilation in buildings, the company added.
Importantly, mechanical ventilation, such as an HVAC system with efficient filtration, can help to protect building occupants from the negative cognitive effects of PM2.5 and CO2, Carrier said. In addition to acute impacts on cognitive function, reducing exposure to PM2.5 is associated with many other health benefits, including reductions in cardiovascular disease, asthma attacks and premature death.
While the research focused on office employees in commercial buildings, the takeaways are applicable for all indoor environments, Carrier said, adding that as a company it offers numerous products and services that optimize indoor air quality, including a suite of advanced solutions through Carrier’s Healthy Buildings Program that serves key verticals including, healthcare, hospitality, education, retail and marine.
This latest research builds on previous COGfx studies that demonstrated better thinking and better health can be found inside healthier buildings. The first study found cognitive function test scores doubled when study participants were in simulated green building environments with enhanced ventilation as opposed to conventional building environments. The COGfx Study 2 examined real-world building environments in the United Stayes and showed that employees in green-certified buildings showed 26% higher cognitive function test scores and 30% fewer sick building symptoms versus buildings that were not green-certified.
According to Carrier, the COGfx Study 3 can be found at www.theCOGfxStudy.com.
‘Clean up indoor air, or else expect COVID to surge’
TROY, New York, 21 August 2021: An air quality engineer warned that the COVID-19 pandemic won’t end until Americans clean up the indoor air.
“With variants on the rise, all the talk this summer has been about vaccines,” said Jeremy McDonald, Vice President at New York-based firm, Guth DeConzo Consulting. “Now we’re hearing about masks again, which feels like a step back for most of us. But when it comes to preventing the spread of airborne viruses, like COVID-19, we also have to improve the quality of the air in our indoor spaces. As the seasons change, it seems like we’re going back to old, tired strategies that haven’t gotten us out of this mess. It’s time to listen to the engineers: It’s all about the air.”
Mc Donald on July 26 published an essay, titled ‘Moving Beyond COVID-19: It’s Time to Look at the Air We Breathe’, in which he argued that President Joe Biden’s ‘American Jobs Plan’ must include improvements to the indoor air quality (IAQ) infrastructure, if Americans are to finally beat the COVID-19 pandemic and improve defenses against future pandemics and common day-to-day air quality maladies. Toward the end of July, COVID-19 cases began to surge in parts of the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its mask guidance to once again recommend that Americans wear masks indoors, even if vaccinated.
McDonald encouraged improvements to ventilation and the use of high-performance air filters and other air purification technologies, where appropriate. Buildings that have deferred maintenance and investment in modern HVAC may require more complicated and expensive solutions, he said.
“Although some buildings may require an expensive investment, we need to weigh this against the cost of our health and well-being,” McDonald wrote in his essay. “Certainly, when considering our health, fixing ‘sick’ buildings is a much better choice than fixing ‘sick’ people.”
Yet, McDonald said, there are plenty of low-cost or no-cost solutions that can drastically improve IAQ, such as cracking a window, which reduces the intensity and quantity of virus particles and their ability to spread to more people, using air purification technologies, and simply ensuring that buildings meet the spirit of building code requirements for minimal fresh air for buildings.
Saying that there is a historical precedent for this common sense strategy, McDonald noted in his essay: “In response to the Pandemic of 1918, when more than 20,000 New Yorkers died, ventilation was seen as one of the key attributes to protect residents from the devastation of the pandemic. Back then, New York City officials dictated that building heating systems were to be designed and sized to operate with all the windows open, since it was recognized that ventilation was key to purge the virus from indoor spaces. If it worked 100 years ago, it will work today.”
One of the main challenges in getting people to pay more attention to poor indoor air quality is that the problem is invisible, an issue McDonald commented on in an original cartoon he commissioned to get his point across. In the first panel of the cartoon, two fish swim in a bowl. One fish says, “I think the poor quality of the water is making us sick.” The other fish asks, “What’s water?” In the second panel, two office workers and an HVAC engineer stand near the same fishbowl. “Glad to be done with masks, sanitizers and social distancing forever!” says one office worker. “If we don’t improve our air quality in our buildings, we will keep getting sick in the future,” the engineer chimes in. “The air looks good to me,” says the other office worker. Beside her, one of the fish in the bowl is floating upside down with Xs for eyes, indicating it has died. The caption below the cartoon reads, “We don’t know who discovered water, but we’re pretty sure it wasn’t a fish,” which is a modern proverb attributed to various sources. That saying, McDonald asserted, sums up our own troubled relationship to air quality – because air is so fundamental to our existence, most of us don’t even think about it. But HVAC engineers think about air every day, all day, and it’s time to listen to them in the fight against airborne illness, he added.
“My frustration, which motivates me to write and speak out on the issue of air quality, is that our leaders are not getting it, and they aren’t listening to engineers,” McDonald said. “But the public health officials aren’t really talking about indoor air quality either, so a lot of politicians probably don’t want to go against the narrative.”
McDonald said that some of the anti-vaccine sentiments may stem from incomplete messaging that does not address indoor air quality. “Some of the resistance to masks and vaccines might be because people know in the back of their mind there’s something missing from the common messaging that is ringing hollow 18 months into this pandemic,” McDonald said. “We are constantly hearing, ‘Wash your hands, wear a mask and socially distance, where possible. We need to add simple, yet time-tested, ventilation strategies to our messaging, which we all know implicitly makes sense to folks from all political persuasions.” Perhaps with improved messaging from our leaders and initiatives to fix our broken HVAC systems, we can truly address this pandemic without arguing about the viability of masking and vaccines, he added.
McDonald said he is clear that vaccines are a key tool in beating this pandemic. But, without addressing the fundamental issue of indoor air quality, he said, we may be putting a “BAND-AID” on the current problem, missing out on the opportunity to improve public health for the long term.
Future of HVAC in India is bright, says Magneto Clean Tech
New Delhi, India, 18 June 2019: The HVAC industry in India has immense potential but is heavily dependent on the economic activity around the building industry, said Himanshu Agarwal, CEO, and Founder, Magneto Clean Tech, while providing an overview on the HVAC market in India. In the last few years, heavy debt has propelled the industry to undergo a restructuring, which has led to excessive competition and a price war, he said. From a broad perspective, Agarwal said, air pollution in India is high and the awareness regarding the bad air quality is a subject that is given more attention every day. This he said, will lead to high demand for air systems.
Elaborating on Magneto Clean Tech, a New Delhi-based HVAC company, Agarwal said: “Magneto Clean Tech invents and popularises clean air technology for developing nations. We focus on making clean air accessible to everyone, whether in homes, in the office or in buildings.” By pushing the limits of engineering, he said, we are able to build the highest quality of products that exhibit performance. While providing an overview of the work done in the year 2018, he said, we delivered clean air to a total area of 2.5 million square feet. “The year 2019, Agarwal said, looks bright as the company’s projected growth rate is over 100%.
Magneto Clean Tech’s products, he said, have energy-saving benefits due to a very low-pressure drop in the air conditioner. They clean the air holistically, removing dust, micro-organisms and even harmful gases, he said. “We have successfully commercialised a proprietary way of purifying indoor air that is fundamentally superior to current methods,” he said. In addition, Agarwal highlighted that the company has a diverse range of air-purification products that deals with PM 2.5, along with infection control, which as a technology, is being received with an overwhelmingly positive response from users.