It is essential to maintain a fresh air supply and air movement in work areas to keep employees healthy. Too much exposure to contaminated air can cause many health issues. U.S. laws regulate specific air quality in the workplace to reduce the health risks erupting because of inadequate airflow and ventilation. Poor ventilation and airflow can cause stale warm air – a breeding ground for bacteria and other contaminants. Bacteria and pollutants from poor air quality can cause breathing issues and illnesses. Common signs of poor air quality from lack of air circulation health-related issues are headaches, nasal congestion, wheezing, coughing, and irritation of the eyes and throat.
With the increase of respiratory illnesses and the scare of diseases emerging, it is crucial to safeguard not only yourself but your employees in large industrial and commercial workspaces that may have an abundance of workers.
How Ventilation Fans Are Commonly Used
Industrial and commercial buildings are commonly equipped with ventilation systems capable of exchanging a minimum of four air changes per hour (ACH). The four ACH minimum requirements will increase based on internal processes, the average number of people per square foot, and so on. The primary purpose of a ventilation system’s air change requirement is to remove air pollutants and ensure healthy limits are maintained (pollutants are usually measured in parts-per-million/ppm). Some of the most common contaminants are carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, radon, nitrogen dioxide, lead particles, and inert or nuisance dust.
Exhaust Fan and Ventilation System Issues
Industrial and Commercial style buildings commonly use a mix of exhaust fans, supply fans, and intake louver systems specifically sized to reach the desired air change rate. The verifiable flow rate of these systems can provide a false sense of confidence because meeting a desired air change rate is easily accomplished through merely matching the total output of supply and exhaust with the desired air change rate for building volume (air changes/hr. = CFM X 60 min/volume of room).
Some systems are designed to bring fresh air in from one end of the building, and exhaust air on the opposite end of the building(e.g., cross ventilation); other systems may bring supply air from all four walls through supply louvers and exhaust air through the roof (e.g. roof ventilation). Regardless of the supply/exhaust configuration, it’s virtually impossible to know exactly how air and pollutants will move through the space (not to mention make it to an exhaust fan or outlet). To further complicate, many pollutants within buildings are significantly heavier than the ambient air. Making it very difficult, if not impossible, for the pollutants to find their way out of the building. These heavy pollutants can linger at the floor level throughout multiple areas in the building, defeating the best efforts of many well-designed ventilation systems.
Improving Air Circulation with HVLS Industrial Fans
So, how can we ensure pollutants, even those heavier-than-air, find a pathway out of the building? Directly through increased air movement.
“A high-volume low-speed (HVLS) ceiling fan moves vast amounts of air at low speeds to distribute airflow over large areas.”
HVLS fans offer a unique, unmatched method for completely circulating air within the largest of indoor spaces. These fans use their immense size, up to 24ft in diameter, to move massive amounts of air slowly and collectively throughout the entire floor area. Adding an HVLS fan system to a well-designed ventilation system will ensure thorough mixing of all air within the space (including those pesky, heavier-than-air pollutants). A thorough mixture of the air allows the ventilation system to remove pollutants from the area within each air change more effectively. In addition to more effective air changes, heavy pollutants will not collect at the floor level, and the average ppm(parts per million) of any given pollutant is significantly lower throughout the entire space— Energy efficient ventilation at its best , even for spaces with high ceilings.