Friday, December 13, 2013

Sick Building Syndrome and Our Health
Recently, the USGBC released a document discussing the effects buildings can have on our health. The LEED system aims to keep buildings healthy so that the people inside do not become sick. It is estimated that we spend 90% of our time inside, so USGBC states that eliminating harms will improve "the way we perform". When buildings cause medical issues, the EPA states that this is a sign of Sick Building Syndrome.  SBS can be defined as “situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.” This issue can affect large and small buildings alike, mostly due to "inadequate ventilation, chemical contaminants from indoor and outdoor sources and biological contaminants."

LEED is engineered to apply solutions to these kinds of issues, creating a more inhabitable area. Building by the standards of LEED is the best way to avoid SBS. Since most cases come from older buildings, it is important to know how to take care of the issue properly.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC) symptoms of SBS are:

  • headaches
  • eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • a dry cough; dry or itchy 
  • skin; dizziness and nausea
  • difficulty in concentrating
  • fatigue
  • sensitivity to odors. 

They also state that the symptoms can be reduced by leaving the building. However, that is a huge issue, as most work days are eight to ten hours. Buildings need to be suitable all hours of the day so that employees can complete their work days.

To reduce the harms of SBS in office settings, the NSC proposes several solutions:

Evaluate HVAC System
Making sure that there is proper ventilation and air distribution is key; they suggest highly polluted air to be ventilate outside; examples include "restrooms, copy room, and printing facilities"

Maintenance of HVAC Systems

  • "Replacing water-stained ceiling tiles and carpets"
  • "Venting contaminant source emissions to the outdoors"
  • Allowing enough time for remodeled areas to ventilate
  • Supplying air filters
Inform employees about work-place hazards
Have a plan for SBS cases
Effectively communicate expectations and solutions to employee complaints

At GreenEDU, we offer Residential HVACR Certification training. Our class covers the core skills needed for entry level employment in the HVAC/R field. This course will include safety instruction, use of hand and power tools, and hands-on learning with state-of-the-art equipment in a complete lab environment. Instruction includes gas, oil, and electric heating systems, heat pump and air conditioning systems along with learning troubleshooting skills and techniques. Instruction in customer service as it applies to the industry will also be taught. Students will have the opportunity to earn industry credentials including: OSHA 10 Hour Safety, EPA 608, R410A, HVAC Excellence Employment Ready Basic Refrigeration and Charging Procedures, Oil Heat and Gas Heat certifications.

To sign up for the HVAC course, visit our website or call our office at 646-564-3546 and one of our team members will be happy to assist you.