It's been shown that environmental conditions inside a place of business impact employee performance, with positive increases in productivity realized through the help of commercial HVAC equipment. When it comes to the indoor environment, many only consider temperature and do not realize how humidity plays an important role here, too. In our most recent blog, Estes Commercial discusses humidity control in your workplace and offers solutions that deliver results and benefits to your business.
Problems Causing Humidity Issues in Commercial Buildings
Commercial facilities have unique indoor environmental needs, with every place of business being different than the next. While humidity control should involve solutions tailored to your facility, common issues that create high humidity problems within buildings are often similar.
- Building envelope damage. Issues with workplace humidity levels can stem from moisture problems that originate from the building envelope. Window and roof leaks, exterior wall damage, unsealed pipe penetrations, and other problem areas cause the building to take on moisture which increases indoor humidity levels. Positive pressurization within the building works to control moisture infiltration, though damage to the building envelope creates low-pressure areas that cause excess humidity to move in.
- Humidity increases due to ventilation. The makeup air brought into a building through ventilation systems can raise indoor relative humidity levels significantly and burden HVAC equipment, not to mention disrupting the building's humidity control. Ventilation system design often fails to include dehumidification solutions to remove moisture before it is added to the environment.
Implications of Poor Commercial Humidity Control
When a building's relative humidity level climbs above 60 percent, the facility is at a great risk for mold development as well as sick building syndrome among occupants. Poor humidity control in your office building could create significant expenses due to moisture damage as well as losses due to absenteeism and poor productivity.
Building Damage resulting from excess humidity often includes:
- Mold growth throughout the building's HVAC systems
- Warping and damage to wooden materials
- Degradation or failure of building materials such as wiring, roofing materials, and others
- Damage to concrete and brick materials and retained moisture freezes and thaws
When employees are exposed to a damp indoor environment day in and day out, they are likely to experience health effects that will pose consequences to your business. Dampness, as well as mold inside a building, raise the likelihood of asthma or respiratory health issues by 30 to 50 percent. Immunocompromised employees experience greater risks of opportunistic infections and fungal colonization. Studies show that by reducing dampness along with mold in the nation's office environments, 1.5 million days of work absences could be prevented each year, saving $500 million in lost work costs.
Solutions for Workplace Humidity Control
Humidity control is critical to limiting dampness and the costly issues that result from it. A facility's commercial HVAC mechanical system must be designed with enough dehumidification power to remove the following: condensation, external humidity brought in by ventilating internal sources of added humidity such as cooking or hot water washing, and infiltration through building envelope damage.
To achieve workplace humidity control, commercial air conditioning systems should include dedicated dehumidification equipment, which is able to operate independently of cooling cycles. Ventilation dehumidification units can be implemented to remove moisture from makeup air, preventing humidity increases with air change. Exhaust systems are useful in facilities with processes that produce moisture to eliminate humidity gain.
Humidity Control Systems for Atlanta Workplaces
Estes Commercial helps Atlanta area business owners manage building humidity levels to create healthier, more comfortable indoor environments for their workforce while protecting the buildings themselves from costly moisture damage. Contact us today to consult our heating, cooling, and indoor air quality experts regarding workplace humidification services to maintain a healthy environment for your workers.