Sick Buildings Need Doctors; How Insulators Can Help

Have you ever spent hours in a building you thought might be making you sick?

We all know there are some buildings filled with fumes from the flooring, mold, or residual moisture. This especially becomes an issue when a building is being used or inhabited daily. Sick buildings can damage worker productivity and threaten the health of their residents, but proper care and a strong ventilation system can restore a building to its full potential.

Insulation is key to a well-ventilated building, so it is critical that building owners understand the full spectrum of benefits that come from these building upgrades and installing insulation. Healthy buildings are a focus at IDI, so we work to ensure that insulators are experts on healthy building practices and know how to communicate these benefits to their clients.

Sick Buildings Need Doctors

Owning a sick building is expensive in addition to being a health hazard. According to the EPA, the majority of the American workforce spends close to 90% of its time indoors. This is problematic because the air indoors is often two to five times as toxic as the air outside. Off-gassing (the release of harmful airborne particulates or chemicals) from furniture, flooring, and other materials plays a role, but so does air leakage, moisture, and other factors involving the building envelope. These toxins can hinder your team’s productivity, costing your company thousands of dollars.

National Geographic conducted a study which showed that when ventilation rates were doubled in buildings, workers’ cognitive test scores also doubled, and their productivity increased by an average $6,500 per worker. The cost to do this averaged only $14-$40 per occupant per year. To read the full article, click here.

Occupant wellness is the “second wave of sustainability” according to Rick Fedrizzi, CEO of the International WELL Building Institute and founder of the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council). More articles appear each day in facility manager and HR trade journals laying out the multifaceted cost and health benefits of well-ventilated buildings for workers, and as more studies and articles show the value and resultant ROI of fixing buildings, the greater the opportunity there will be in the industry.

 

How Insulators Can Help

To get your ventilation system under control, you need to seal up the building envelope with proper insulation. This is where insulators come in. An insulation expert trained in retrofit and BPI best practices can help clients effectively seal their buildings — cleaning the air and preventing moisture from causing building degradation.

The concept of retrofitting insulation for healthy buildings is gaining ground quickly in homes as well as commercial buildings, as evidenced by the thriving Healthy Home Evaluator program. To address this trend, IDI has added new training opportunities for insulators who want to learn more to better serve their clients — from residential and commercial retrofit classes to building analyst certifications through BPI.

Healthy buildings are critical to the health and well-being of their residents, so as more research is conducted on this phenomenon we’ll likely have to make building health first priority in updating buildings. Construction teams will need to look into the air quality of a building before adjusting the floor layout or adding rooms. Architects, for example, know to get rid of mold and clean up the air before installing a workout room.

To take full advantage of this new wave of sustainability, partner with IDI to learn as much as you can about healthy buildings. Our training opportunities will cover how to effectively present this topic to clients and how to make your insulation practices as “healthy” as possible.

Would you like to learn more about the benefits of retrofitting insulation for healthy buildings? Contact us today!

 

By Ken Allison
Ken Allison works for IDI Distributors as a business development and building science expert. Learn more about retrofitting and air sealing when you attend one of our regional training events for applicators and contractors. Click here to find one near you.