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Air Quality Data

Should Companies Be Transparent With Indoor Air Quality Data?

Joe Di Noto

In our recent AMA webinar, one question that came up was around how transparent companies should be when it comes to indoor air quality.

Sharing indoor air quality data transparently can be met with reluctance from companies due to various concerns: potential liability, increased workload, or fear of receiving complaints. However, ignoring or avoiding the transparency of IAQ data is not a viable solution. In fact, taking a proactive and open approach to addressing IAQ concerns can yield significant benefits for both companies and their building occupants.

Trying to Hide Issues Will Backfire

Some companies may be concerned about the extra workload associated with data collection, analysis, and reporting; furthermore, when employees are aware of issues with air quality, these issues would need to be addressed promptly - which might require further investment of resources. Businesses fear that they would find themselves overwhelmed with complaints or inquiries from building occupants. 

While these concerns are understandable, they are ignoring a basic fact: even if you don’t share data about indoor air quality, occupants will find out if there are issues. Today, anyone can purchase a personal IAQ monitor which would alert them to issues such as high levels of CO2 or TVOC; beyond that, poor indoor air quality causes discomfort, and the topic is sure to come up in discussions with colleagues. Employees are likely to express their concerns privately or through other channels like social media. By proactively sharing IAQ data, companies can gain control over the narrative, engage in open dialogue, and address concerns in a transparent and efficient manner.

The Benefits of Transparency 

Embracing transparency in IAQ data has several extended benefits: 

  • Foster trust with building occupants. By openly sharing IAQ data, companies demonstrate their commitment to creating a healthy and safe working environment. This transparency builds confidence among employees, assuring them that their well-being is a top priority.
  • Be proactive in addressing potential issues. By regularly monitoring and openly communicating the IAQ data, companies can identify patterns or trends that may indicate emerging problems. This early awareness enables prompt mitigation measures and preventive actions, minimizing the impact on employees' health and productivity.
  • Promote accountability and collaboration. When companies openly share IAQ data, it encourages employees to actively participate in maintaining a healthy work environment. Building occupants become more aware of their individual roles in IAQ management, taking personal measures to contribute positively and report concerns constructively. This shared responsibility enhances the overall effectiveness of IAQ management efforts.

How Companies Can Achieve Transparency With IAQ Data

Here are practical approaches and tools that companies can employ to achieve transparency in sharing IAQ data:

Tools and Technologies for Sharing IAQ Data Transparently

There are many tools and technologies available for sharing IAQ data transparently. One common tool is indoor air quality monitors, which can measure various pollutants and provide real-time data about IAQ levels. Facilities leaders can use this data to make informed decisions about IAQ improvements and to share data with building occupants.

Another helpful tool is an IAQ dashboard, which can provide a visual representation of IAQ data over time. This can help building occupants understand how IAQ levels are changing and whether improvements are being made over time.

User-facing tools should present IAQ data in a user-friendly and easily understandable format. Occupants can access the data, understand the current IAQ status, and be informed about any potential concerns. These tools may also include educational resources, tips for improving IAQ, and channels for reporting issues or feedback. By empowering occupants with access to IAQ data, companies foster a sense of transparency and collaboration.

Implementing IAQ Spot Checks and Real-time Continuous Monitoring

IAQ spot checks involve periodic assessments using portable monitoring devices to measure key parameters such as temperature, humidity, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These spot checks can provide valuable insights into IAQ conditions, but are limited to specific times and locations.

Real-time continuous monitoring, on the other hand, involves deploying hardware monitors throughout the building to collect and transmit IAQ data in real-time. These monitors are capable of measuring multiple IAQ parameters continuously, offering a comprehensive view of indoor air quality trends and fluctuations. This approach enables companies to have up-to-date and accurate data readily available for analysis and sharing with occupants.

Closing: Transparency is Better for Employees - and for Businesses

In today's era of increased awareness about health and well-being, companies must prioritize transparency when it comes to indoor air quality data.

The benefits of sharing IAQ data transparently far outweigh the challenges. Achieving transparency with IAQ data empowers building occupants, promotes proactive IAQ management, and creates an environment of open dialogue and collaboration. Ultimately, companies that embrace transparency with IAQ data not only enhance the well-being of their occupants but also position themselves as leaders in prioritizing health and sustainability in the built environment.

For more answers to indoor air quality questions, check out our recent AMA webinar with Kaiterra CEO Liam Bates. Watch the recording here