May 5, 2021

It’s Spring and the (Indoor) Air is Fresh and Clean!

This is an adaptation of a blog that Trevor wrote for the Institute of Real Estate Management’s April 2021 newsletter.

Finally, it’s spring in Michigan! As warmer weather, vaccinations, and immunity spread across the state, people are excited to be out after a year of being closed in. Some, though, still need coaxing to go back into their office buildings.

Our tenants have heard news reports about viruses circulating indoors in commercial ventilating systems. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the air in any commercial building is fresher and safer than 95% of homes . Here’s why:

First, commercial buildings have superior filtration and are serviced at regular intervals. How often, pre-Covid, did you change the filters in your home’s heating / cooling system? Maybe once a year?  Even the most diligent homeowner I’ve met doesn’t change the filters at the recommended 60-90-day interval. In our commercial buildings, we change filters quarterly.

Next, residential systems, except those in high-end homes with ERV/ air exchange systems, do not have any exchange of air. They’re merely heating and cooling the air already in the home. The only fresh air inside seeps in when windows and doors are opened and closed. This is fundamentally different from any commercial setup! Office buildings are constantly bringing in fresh air. Our research has shown that all commercial units bring in thousands, some nearly tens of thousands of cubic feet of air per minute, and that air volumes turn over much more frequently than we expected. Every building we surveyed —including older ones—exceeded the industry’s minimum standards for air turnover by far.

But tenants don’t have to take our word for that. We’ve created colorful, reader-friendly dashboards like the one below to show anyone interested the data demonstrating how healthy the air in their building really is, from air exchange volumes to Co2 levels and humidity.

Understandably, Covid has made building occupants vigilant about their work surroundings. By collecting and displaying air-quality data before tenants ask for it, we’re putting them at ease and increasing their trust in us. Plus, it gives us every opportunity to quickly catch any system not quite up to our high specs. Everybody wins!

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