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Pure Air Control Services Scientific Approach to IAQ: Determine the Source - Define the Cause - Deliver the Solution

The scientific approach to IAQ solutions has earned Pure Air Control Services the distinguished Frost & Sullivan Award

Tampa, FL 11/11/2008 11:42:32 PM

Pure Air Control Services' objective approach to indoor air quality (IAQ) is based on the collection and utilization of scientific evidence, to identify the root causes of a myriad of potential environmental IAQ deficiencies - and provide effective solution for valued customers. The process developed by the scientists at Pure Air Control Services is based upon: Determining the Source - Defining the Cause - Delivering the Solution.

 

This scientific approach has earned Pure air Control Services an award winning reputation for delivering Solutions for Healthier Indoor Environments as the recognized recipient of the Frost & Sullivan 2006 Product Differentiation Innovation Award for its Solutions for Improving IAQ. 

 

The company earned this recognition for distinguishing its product and services offerings based on a strategy that anticipated the importance of IAQ concerns and the impact of its constituents on the indoor environment.


This scientific approach extends to the management of a Florida hospitals indoor environmental quality program. About three years ago, the Florida hospital reacted to air quality concerns by recruiting expertise, in the form of Pure Air Control Services, Inc. "It's a big issue these days," hospital Director of Engineering said of indoor air quality. "Our approach has been, instead of waiting until we have a problem, of going out and making sure our equipment works well—to avoid problems." 

Determine the Source:

 

Pure Air is a "medically disciplined, solution-oriented indoor environmental service company" with headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. The Director of Engineering with the hospital considers Pure Air Control Service's staff first-rate, and ads: "They've done very well when it comes to responding to our needs."

Overall,
Pure Air Control Services begins with baseline IAQ inspections, followed by air quality diagnosis. Then its AIHA Accredited laboratory analyzes levels of IAQ constituents e.g. mold, bacteria, dust mite, mycotoxins, airborne chemicals or other contaminants. If contaminants are found, mitigation procedures are recommended. "Remediation" steps such as HVAC mitigation, replacing insulation or application of an anti-microbial agent come next. Pure Air Control Services then continues to monitor the situation and report to the client.

 

Define the Cause:

 

At the hospital, marginal counts of molds, fungi and particulates turned up occasionally. While these counts were "not dramatic," the facilities management added that Pure Air Control Services and their building sciences team "can tell when you get into areas where action is needed. They make recommendations, and we OK them."

The hospital project posed unique challenges. One is the area's humid climate. Another is the variety of special ventilation needs—and not just the low temperature requirements of computer rooms. Patients particularly susceptible to infection need rooms with positive pressure, essentially an outflow of air that prevents outside air from being "pulled in" to the patient's room and increasing the risk of infection.

Patients with medical conditions that could infect others often need rooms with negative pressure, which draws in clean air.

There's more. Surgical suites, cardiovascular suites and other specialize in hospital operations have particular ventilation needs. 

Deliver the Solution:


What benefits might justify an air-quality project on this scale? Speaking of clients in general, Pure Air Control Services President and CEO Alan L. Wozniak lists these potential outcomes:

  • Reduced absenteeism. In "worst case buildings" the improvement has been as great as 80 percent.
  • Reduced workers compensation claims, as much as 40 percent in at least one case.
  • Reduced medical costs.
  • Fewer union grievances.
  • Improved productivity and morale. "If people see you're doing something to help the environment," Wozniak said, "they're going to help the employer."
  • Limited Liability and Lawsuits. Performing a proactive IAQ due diligence will provide the assurity that the facility is following an IAQ standard of care.
  • Energy conservation - up to 30 percent.
  • Improved maintenance efficiency.
  • Overall, a 20 percent annual payback on the investment in indoor air quality.

After remediation e.g. biological, allergen or chemical issues, air quality improvement can increase by as much as 80-90%.

When a building's air quality comes under assault, often the real issue is unclear at first. Other causes might be involved or perhaps psychosomatic symptoms. Regardless, Wozniak says Pure Air Control Services multi-disciplinary approach will pinpoint whether the quality of indoor air deserves the blame.

The company's diagnostic skills, medical skills, and availability of its own lab are key elements. "We look at indoor environmental quality from a health, energy and comfort standpoint," he said. "We identify IAQ constituents that are not typically analyzed by most consultants e.g. dust mite, endotoxins, mycotoxins, fiberglass fibers, building pressurization, mechanical hygiene conditions. We get to the root of the problem if there is one."

While most laboratories need from one to two months, the
Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory Pure Air Control Services internal AIHA accredited microbiology lab can turn work around in days. "Our clients like the fact that we can turn their samples over if necessary in the same day the sample was received" stated Dr. Rajiv Sahay, Director of Laboratory Services. " 

 

As an AIHA accredited laboratory we pride ourselves on the quality of microbiology service by providing authentic, efficient and economical laboratory services."  When addressing air quality problems, it's generally not enough to simply increase the efficiency of a building's air filtration— even, say, from 15-20 percent to 80 percent.

Changing filtration efficiency alone doesn't necessarily change the problem. In extreme cases, buildings can accumulate up to an inch of dust in their ventilation systems. Fungi as large as mushrooms have turned up, thriving amid warm, moist conditions.

And to be brief, pigeons can leave their mark. Environmentally clean and treat the deficiency, Wozniak said, and then proper filtration can do its job.

Another, more recent event, is probably the best-known source of air quality concern: In 1976, more than 30 people died after an outbreak of what later became known as Legionnaires' disease. The common bacterium that caused the epidemic, Legionella pneumophila, was traced to bacteria in the cooling towers that circulated in the building that housed Legion members. 


IAQ Standards vs. IAQ Guidelines:

 

While IAQ standards are years away, Wozniak says, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration are working on indoor air quality standards. IAQ, as it is known, continues to grow in prominence on the national health and regulatory agendas. Many states are developing their very own standards for toxic mold constituents. As of present there are over 64 state initiated toxic mold bills have sprung up across the country.
 

Are We There Yet?


As the Legionnaires' disease epidemic demonstrated, Wozniak said, poor air quality has the potential to put people's lives at risk. "A lot of these issues are psychosomatic," he added, and paused: "And a lot of them are not." This is why it is imperative to develop baseline IAQ conditions to know where you are, where you want to be and where you may want to go with IAQ. Yogi Berra put it quit succinctly "if you don't know where you are going, you probably won’t get there."  
 
This falls true in any indoor air quality project.  If you don't know what your IAQ goals and objectives (where you are going?) then you will never know if you've achieved "acceptable" IAQ (did I get there?).  Without a quality baseline evaluation one will not be able to provide the critical clearance report or document stating that the facility meets an IAQ Standard of Care.  An IAQ project should be able to accomplish the following environmentally: Where are we now (present IAQ conditions)?  Where are we going (development of definitive project IAQ specifications, action plan with a CPM schedule)?  Will we know when we got there (post remediation evaluation to be compared to pre remediation and normal #'s)?  Can I enter the destination (provide a clearance for accomplishing an IAQ Standard of Care)?  Sound familiar?  Mom, Dad...are we there yet?

Development of indoor environmental quality guidelines is one reason many hospitals and other proactive companies are going to work on IAQ now.  With meaningful baseline laboratory analysis having been performed over the past 10 years, enough quality information has been procured to develop IAQ Guidelines (a normal background #)  for a building indoor environment.  Dr. Rajiv Sahay, laboratory director with Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory will be presenting a paper entitled "IAQ: A 10 Year Case Study For IAQ Guidelines" at the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) annual conference in Sacramento, California, May of 2005. 

"The worst thing we can do as facilities managers is to take the 'ostrich approach,” declares Skip Camp. He is director of facilities management for another Pure Air client, the Board of County Commissioners in Collier County, Florida. "IAQ won't go away," Camp added, "unless we address it." 

Wozniak's own, more current professional advice echoes the Director of Engineering comments on proactively at the hospital. "Form an indoor environmental quality committee," Wozniak suggested, "develop a proactive IAQ building program. Get employees on an IAQ committee. Don't hide (the issue), or put it on a shelf. It just makes sense to be proactive, to communicate openly... because IAQ issues can be real."

The number one indoor environmental quality culprit across the country, Wozniak added, is typically "deferred maintenance."

Does the Pure Air Control Services scientific Source, Cause, and Solution approach work?  The hospital Director of Engineering is clear and succinct: "It's been well worth it." 

 

About Pure Air Control Services, Inc.

Alan Wozniak founded Pure Air Control Services, Inc. in 1984 as a small mechanical contracting firm. Today, the work distributed from its offices in Tampa, Atlanta, West Palm Beach, Houston and Washington D.C. sets the industry standard for indoor environmental quality diagnosis and remediation. Pure Air has serviced more than 500 million square feet of indoor environments in over 10,000 facilities.

 

Pure Air’s nationally performed services include: Building Sciences Evaluation; Building Health Check; an AIHA accredited Environmental Microbiology Laboratory; Environmental Project Management; and Duct Cleaning & Mold Remediation Services, among other indoor environmental services. The company’s expanding client roster includes the General Services Administration (GSA); Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Allstate Insurance; Carrier Air Conditioning; Naval Air Warfare Center, Orlando; and Naval Air Station - King's Bay, Georgia, and many other Fortune 500 companies, school boards, and city, state, and county governments, making Pure Air a reliable industry leader.

 

For more information on Pure Air Control Services, Inc and its indoor environmental IAQ services offering please contact Ed Ziegler, VP of Business Development, at (800) 422-7873 x804, or visit

 

 

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Pure Air Control, Services, Inc.

  • 4911 Creekside Drive
    Clearwater, Florida 33760
    United States
  • 1 (800) 422-7873