IQAir’s mission is to empower individuals and organizations in protecting their health and wellness through access to clean air. As pioneers in clean air technology, we bring our expertise and commitment to indoor air quality solutions.
Founded in 2014, the International WELL Building Institute aligns with IQAir’s mission, establishing rigorous performance standards to create and certify spaces that advance human health and well-being.
IQAir solutions engineers and air quality service team members are certified WELL Accredited Professionals (AP). Our WELL AP staff members are trained to help your facility in achieving the air quality-related WELL Building Standard (TM) needed for WELL certification.
IWBI WELL Building Standards
The IWBI launched the WELL Building Standard (TM) as a set of criteria for awarding building environmental, health, and wellness certification.
The WELL Building Standard version 2 was adopted after a two-year pilot in 2020 as the updated certification standard. In 2020, the IWBI formed a task force in response to COVID-19 to strengthen and inform new prevention and preparedness guidelines for building managers.
The WELL Building Standard (TM) takes into consideration an array of environmental health factors impacted by building design, construction, and facilities management. WELL standards are:
- verified as factual through a third party
- tested and implemented in real-world settings
- open to outside input from practitioners, subject matter experts, users, and other third parties
Buildings that meet WELL standards for certification must adhere to a rigorous set of specifications for occupant safety within ten key concept areas, including:
- air quality
- water quality
- nourishment and nutritional transparency
- lighting environments
- movement and physical activity
- thermal comfort
- sound and acoustical comfort
- chemical and building materials
- cognitive and emotional well-being
- innovation – strategies to improve environmental health not included in the other concepts
The WELL Air concept sets building standards for maintaining high levels of indoor air quality throughout a building (1). Some of the main features of the Air concept:
- meeting specific indoor air quality thresholds for:
- reducing indoor and outdoor airborne pollutants through air filtration
- smoke-free environment, both indoor and outdoor
- adequate ventilation design
- mitigating construction pollution
- minimizing combustion
The requirements for meeting WELL indoor air quality standards such as PM2.5 can vary based on the building’s purpose and location. Because no amount of PM2.5 is safe, it is important to install high quality air filtration and monitor air quality.
IQAir supports clean air standards
IQAir actively promotes clean air through our clean air solutions, technology, and educational resources as well as through our client consultations. To help create healthier breathing spaces in every building, IQAir offers a Clean Air Facility program.
Using a step-by-step approach, the Clean Air Facility program provides customized air filtration and maintenance services as well as air quality verification and monitoring. For as long as the facility passes and maintains high air quality standards, designation as a Clean Air Facility can be displayed for the public.
The importance of maintaining clean air
Clean air isn’t simply a benefit for facilities. Clean air is essential for employee safety and for prolonging life.
Air pollution deaths are rising, with nearly 9 million preventable deaths linked to air pollution alone in 2015 (2). In 2020, approximately160,000 preventable deaths in the world’s five most populous cities were attributed to air pollution.
In 2020, a study linked COVID-19 and air pollution when rising concentrations of PM2.5 in a single day correlated with increases in COVID-19 cases reported for the following two weeks (3). Air filtration can help capture PM2.5 and airborne infectious viruses, an important part of an overall strategy for returning to work after COVID-19.
Clean air is essential to maintaining a healthy indoor environment for both human health and work productivity.
- A 2019 study published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics found that textile workers in factories exposed to consistently high pollution levels produced significantly less work output after 30 days (4).
- An additional 2019 study in the same publication found that productivity dropped among workers in two call centers during days when their cities experienced higher levels of air pollution (5).
- In 2020, a systematic review inCurrent Opinion on Psychologyof 178 published articles on psychological, economic, and social effects of air pollution noted that decreased worker productivity was a recurring finding among the numerous negative impacts listed such as increased self-harm and cognitive impairment (6).
Indoor concentrations of some pollutants can be between two and five times higher than typical outdoor concentrations (7). In addition to indoor sources of air pollution like combustibles, cleaning supplies, and building material off-gassing, outdoor air pollutants can seep in through cracks, ventilation, doors, and windows and become trapped.
However, proper air filtration can improve indoor air quality and help mitigate associated health risks. If a facility is trying to meet sustainability goals by reducing overall environmental impacts and achieve exceptional facility air quality standards, a clean air plan with excellent air filtration provides several benefits.
Quality air filtration reduces particle pollution, one of the greatest pollutant threats to human health. Breathing in airborne particles like PM2.5 or even more coarse PM10 can result in cardiovascular and respiratory illness (8).
Even smaller particle pollutants, ultrafine particles, are so small that they can cause systemic damage to the human body by penetrating deep into the lung tissue and bodily organs (9).
Controlling airborne pollutants through filtration, in combination with social distancing and wearing masks, can also help reduce the risk of viral infection. It helps to install an HVAC filter that can capture 95 percent of ultrafine particles, particles which can include allergens, bacteria, and viruses.
Installing the right HVAC filtration technology can also increase energy efficiency, reducing a building’s energy costs and carbon footprint. Choosing a filter that only meets MERV 13 ratings could be less energy efficient than a better performing air filter and might not even filter out viruses and ultrafine particles.
A healthy building – or any shared indoor space designed with the well-being of people in mind – is one that meets and exceeds environmental standards dictated by the best science.
We’re pleased to contribute our over 50 years of clean air expertise to informing the WELL Building Standard for air quality and educating fellow consortium members.
In addition to helping facilities meet the WELL standards, IQAir offers aClean Air Facility program, allowing facilities to meet even higher air quality standards.Book an introductory call with a Solutions Engineer to learn more about IQAir air filtration and air quality monitoring solutions.