Sick building syndrome is often a result of decaying building materials, a presence of asbestos, or dirty air ducts. It is extremely important for buildings to be inspected any time there is a possibility that sick building syndrome is occurring. Much of the time, an inefficient or poorly installed or designed HVAC system is the direct cause of sick building syndrome. Here's a closer look at sick building syndrome and how to combat it.
What Are the Symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome?
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If you own your own business and a lot of your employees are getting sick, this is a sign that they could be suffering from sick building syndrome. Common symptoms may include any of the following:
- An inability to concentrate well
- Itchy eyes
- Itchy or dry skin
- Extreme fatigue
- Sensitivity to smells
Common Indicators of Sick Building Syndrome
The following signs are indicators of sick building syndrome:
- Biologic growth
- High indoor humidity levels
- Intense odors
- Poor indoor air quality
- Stagnant airflow
- Extreme temperatures (hot and cold spots)
Ways to Combat Sick Building Syndrome
One of the simplest ways to combat sick building syndrome is to improve indoor lighting. The use of natural lighting can increase productivity levels and prevent employees from getting headaches. If you don't have the option to install natural lighting, you can always invest in light management systems.
Install Air Quality Control
You can also combat sick building syndrome by contacting a professional HVAC contractor and having him or her install an air quality control system. This may include the installation of air purifiers and new air filters. The contractor can also inspect the design of the existing HVAC system to ensure it was properly installed. There may be a chance it needs to be reconstructed to improve air quality.
Use Sustainable Building Materials
At your best, you should always use sustainable building materials. This will include investing in sustainable flooring. If you use toxic materials, this could significantly increase the likelihood of your workers suffering from sick building syndrome. You'll also want to make sure your maintenance staff members are using environmentally-friendly cleaners when cleaning the office.
Place Plants Around the Office
Placing plants around the office comes with a three-fold benefit: It enhances the physiological and psychological atmosphere within the office and it can also help deter sick building syndrome. Plants are known to improve indoor air quality and decrease stress, both of which are paramount to increase office productivity.
Any time you suspect your employees are suffering from sick building syndrome, it's imperative to have the issue addressed as soon as possible. If you're an employee and you think you and your co-workers are suffering from this syndrome, you will need to report it to the appropriate supervisor or file a complaint.
Taking measures to combat sick building syndrome is core to operational success. Sick building syndrome can also occur in homes. A professional HVAC contractor can inspect a home and pinpoint the exact problem and then make necessary adjustments.