Sick building syndrome, also known as SBS, is a problem with a multitude of causes and symptoms. Experts disagree about what exact elements cause sick building syndrome: some even believe that SBS is not a disease itself, but rather the manifestation of specific known diseases that can occur as a result of harmful air pollutants or other elements present in a building. The EPA estimates that the combination of lowered productivity, employee absenteeism, and medical costs from SBS add up to between $60 and $200 billion annually. For warehouse and industrial buildings, it is especially important that steps are taken to prevent problems relating to SBS from harming occupants of your building.
Potential Causes Of Sick Building Syndrome
CO2 from the breathing of humans is one of the most basic causes of SBS. Other things that can contribute to sick building syndrome include mold that has accumulated as a result of moisture from improperly sealed windows or a roof with a leak. Poor ventilation is also a known cause of SBS: in a study conducted in Indoor Air, 20 out of 27 studies found an increase in the reporting of one or more SBS symptoms from those that occupied buildings in the study that had lower scores for ventilation rates. Additional causes for SBS are cigarette smoke, airborne germs from humans, and chemicals given off by paint and certain types of adhesives. Some hold the belief that SBS can be brought about or exacerbated by mental conditions as well, such as working on a high-pressure job or feeling excessive stress for professional or personal reasons.
Problems Relating To Sick Building Syndrome
Common symptoms that are experienced by those suffering from SBS include:
- Sore throat
- Skin rashes
Some of the more serious symptoms include cardiac disruptions and mental problems such as difficulty concentrating or remembering things. Patient.co.uk reports that headaches are usually dull and described as a feeling of pressure on the head, instead of the sharper pains related to migraines. Any combination of these symptoms can lead to employee absenteeism or reduced productivity, effects that over time can negatively affect the performance of an organization as a whole.
Why HVLS Fans are the Best Solution
Many of the issues caused by SBS stem from stagnant air in a building. High volume low speed (HVLS) fans are the ideal way to increase airflow without using as much energy as traditional HVAC systems or having to deal with the pollutants that can often build up in ventilation ducts. According to Plant Engineering, a HVLS fans can move as much as 22,000 square feet of air and have a greatly reduced operational cost because of their slower speeds and smaller motors. HVLS fans disperse humidity and moisture, which can facilitate mold. These fans will also help your building obtain LEED certification in categories relating to energy efficiency and indoor air quality.
The EPA reports that North Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, where the concentration of certain kinds of pollutants is between two and five times higher than outdoor areas. People responsible for the design and operation of a building must take measures to improve air quality to protect the health of its occupants and ensure that the organization that uses the building is running at the highest possible level. Check out MacroAir’s extensive selection of HVLS fans to make sure that SBS does not become a problem in any buildings that you are working on.
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