Time was most people had to postpone their trips outside and reacquaint themselves with the great indoors. But even before the pandemic, studies showed that Americans spend an average of 90% of their time indoors. A recent study by the National Exposure Research Laboratory (part of the EPA) identified that American citizens spent 68.7% of their time in a residence and only 7.6% outdoors. All this time spent indoors means that people have had to deal with the effects of poor indoor air quality first-hand.
Suzanne Shelton of the Shelton Group recently presented an excellent webinar to the Energy & Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) members along with attendees. She reminded people that indoor air quality (IAQ) was important before the pandemic, but now it has been taken to the next level.
To better understand the value of these systems, we tapped into the expertise of Panasonic to shed some light on some more confusing questions, like whether IAQ systems can trap coronavirus.
3 Questions Answered on Indoor Air Quality Systems
1. What is the most effective way to introduce IAQ systems to homeowners?
Educate consumers on the integral role IAQ plays in the home. Today’s tightly built homes trap all sorts of toxins inside, creating an urgent need for better ventilation. It even stated that poor indoor air quality is ranked as the fourth biggest environmental threat in the US. Remember how people spend about 90% of their time indoors?
Continual exposure to these more harmful environments can have lasting effects on the people inside the home, such as respiratory issues, heart disease and even cancer. Health experts estimate 35 million Americans suffer from upper respiratory tract symptoms that are allergic reactions to airborne allergens.
2. Can IAQ systems be controlled through a smart home automation control system?
It largely depends on the manufacturer. Panasonic’s Cosmos healthy system connects with Alexa and can integrate with other third-party smart items. The company also plans on having an open API so other platforms can communicate with and control Cosmos.
3. Do typical IAQ systems have the capability of capturing coronavirus particulates or does that require an expensive, medical-grade system?
The straight answer is we don’t know for sure if IAQ can capture COVID specifically. The long-form answer is that elements of IAQ systems already mitigate viruses in the air. Increased ventilation rates can reduce viruses like influenza and SARS and bacteria counts in the air. In addition, numerous studies have revealed that airflow solutions can decrease infection rates of airborne diseases.
A version of this article previously appeared in CE Pro.