Healthy buildings as the latest enticement
A healthy indoor climate has become the latest enticement to bring employees back into the office. Solutions for upgrading the entire indoor climate are currently on the rise. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that improving Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in offices could add as much as €17,5 billion (€17.500.000.000) annually to the U.S. economy. However, offering a safe and healthy indoor climate is not always a walk in the park.
One of the most important requirements - arguably the most important one – is a well-functioning ventilation system. Also known as the lungs of the building. We know that HVAC-related costs can run to high figures. But what amounts are we talking about? TakeAir did some research regarding this topic in collaboration with our study bureau.
I don't think business people realize the power of buildings to not only keep people safe from disease but to lead to better performance
Not-justifiable costs of HVAC
TakeAir performed a calculation based on three contemporary trends. The research was always twofold: on the one hand, TakeAir mapped the energy costs of these events. On the other hand, we investigated the price of the carbon footprint of that same event.
First, the benefits to a building with a well-maintained ventilation system were considered. If a ventilation system is carefully maintained (i.e., timely replacement of dirty filter), then huge savings are made on the energy costs of the HVAC system. We found that as much as €3.5 per square meter per year could be saved on energy costs. Just by proper maintenance of your HVAC. This translated into an annual saving of €1,5 on gas emissions. A total of €5 per square meter per year.
At the beginning of the pandemic, it was also recommended that heat and cold recirculation be deactivated in buildings. This was to prevent the spread of viral pathogens through the air ducts. To ensure the safety of building users this was carried out, but heating and cooling constantly came at a cost. Adding up the rising energy costs together with the carbon footprint, it was calculated that this could cost €6.3 per square meter per year.
Lastly, the escalating costs associated with the high-pressure drop of a HEPA filter were identified. Although HEPA does not contribute to a healthier indoor climate, it was important to look at the study from different points of view. The cost of such pressure loss amounts to almost €2,5 per square meter per year.
Innovative filtration techniques are essential
The conclusion of the calculations performed is therefore not to be underestimated. Buildings that invest little time in maintaining their ventilation system, coupled with the cost of HEPA filters and the deactivation of heat and cold recovery, will soon have to explain to shareholders why their energy bills are so high. With rising energy prices and an increasing value for healthy buildings, now is the time for buildings to invest in the necessary innovations.
Taking the wrong measures on ventilation runs up to €14 per square meter per year.
Read the full study of the Future of Breathing here or in the sidebar of this text.