Home Air Quality Clean Air in Buildings Challenge Provides Roadmap for Ensuring Superior IAQ

Clean Air in Buildings Challenge Provides Roadmap for Ensuring Superior IAQ

Glenn Hasek

In case you missed it, earlier this month, the Biden-Harris Administration released the National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, a roadmap to move the country forward safely and continue to fight COVID-19 as Americans get back to their more normal routines. Of course, a big part of getting back to normal is improving air quality in whatever dwelling we happen to be in—hotels included.

As part of its Preparedness Plan, on March 17, the Administration launched the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge. It calls on all building owners and operators to assess their indoor air quality and make ventilation and air filtration improvements to help keep occupants safe. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a best practices guide for improving indoor air quality and reducing the risk of spreading dangerous airborne particles. This guide—developed in collaboration with the Department of Energy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other federal agencies—contains a set of clear recommendations organized into four groups:

  1. Create a clean indoor air action plan that assesses indoor air quality, plans for upgrades and improvements, and includes HVAC inspections and maintenance.
  2. Optimize fresh air ventilation by bringing in and circulating clean outdoor air indoors.
  3. Enhance air filtration and cleaning using the central HVAC system and in-room air cleaning devices.
  4. Engage the building community by communicating with building occupants to increase awareness, commitment, and participation.

Under each of these recommendation areas, EPA’s best practices guide lays out clear-cut actions building owners and operators can implement. The best practices guide is designed to serve as a menu of improvements to choose from. The guide includes quick steps that all organizations can take right away as a starting place, as well as resources to help plan for longer-term investments and improvements.

Recognition is Part of the Plan

Similar to how programs like LEED, Fitwel, and WELL recognize buildings for their environmental and health impacts, this new effort between the federal government and external experts will develop ways to recognize steps taken by building owners for the health and safety of their communities and their achievements in improving air filtration and ventilation systems to protect and promote public health.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), in coordination with other partners through the Pandemic Innovation Task Force, is identifying opportunities to drive innovation and implementation of technologies to support clean indoor air in buildings and reduce disease transmission. OSTP will also host a series of public engagements to provide the latest science, tools, and best practices on improving indoor air quality.

Yes, the pandemic has thankfully been tamed—hopefully for good—but it is still your responsibility to take the necessary steps to ensure a high level of indoor air quality (IAQ) in your building. It may mean new investments in HVAC systems that ensure superior air quality, including air purification machines in guestrooms. It certainly means a heightened focus on preventive maintenance and air monitoring. And, as always, IAQ must be kept in mind when FF&E is purchased, and painting is done. Finally, for those casino owners who still allow smoking in public areas, it is time for a policy change. As COVID-19 has shown, those individuals with weak immune systems—with lungs impacted by smoking—are more prone to serious illness and death when suffering from the pandemic.

What steps have you taken to improve your property’s IAQ since day one of the pandemic? What IAQ investments are you making now for the next virus that comes along? I would love to know. Write to me at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

Green Lodging News Adds Crossville as Founding Sponsor

Green Lodging News has added Crossville, Inc. as a Founding Sponsor at the Silver Level. Crossville is the premiere source for responsibly manufactured porcelain tile, mosaics, glass, wall, porcelain tile panels, and countertop collections. U.S. owned-operated, Crossville offers tile designs as beautiful as they are sustainable, always with exceptional technical performance. Crossville was “born green,” manufacturing responsibly since launching in 1986. Since development of a method for recycling fired porcelain in 2009, Crossville is a net consumer of waste and has recycled over 140 million pounds of material that would’ve otherwise been landfilled. The company is fully transparent regarding its products’ environmental impact and ingredient disclosure, going the extra mile to attain third-party certification and verification, as well as optimization of EPDs, Declare Labels (100ppm and red list free), and its porcelain tile HPD. Order free samples, access full product documentation, and get inspired for your next project at crossvilleinc.com.

For more information, call (931) 484-2110, e-mail marketing@crossvilleinc.com, or go to crossvilleinc.com.

Who is Your Sustainability Champion?

Green Lodging News is always looking to profile sustainability champions in our Personnel Profile section. If you would like to nominate someone for this section of Green Lodging News, contact me at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

Looking for Guest Columnists

Every two weeks Green Lodging News posts a new guest column on its website. (Click here for examples.) The guest column also appears in the weekly e-newsletter. Green Lodging News is currently in need of industry experts to contribute occasional guest columns. Experts may include consultants, architects, designers, suppliers, and those who own or operate green lodging establishments. Columns may be articles that take a stance on a particular subject or be strictly educational in nature. Columnists benefit by having their photo included along with a one paragraph description of their company. Interested in writing a column? Contact Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor, at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

Get in the Green Suppliers Spotlight!

Green Lodging News, lodging’s leading environmental news source, publishes Green Suppliers Spotlight, an e-blast to 22,229 subscribers that features the lodging industry’s leading green products and services. The e-blast features multiple vendors—unlike the current Green Supplier Spotlight that allows one supplier to “own” the Green Lodging News subscriber list for one e-blast. (Click here for a Green Suppliers Spotlight sample.)

Green Suppliers Spotlight is published weekly on Thursdays to general managers, owners, management companies, directors of sustainability, directors of engineering, facilities managers and many others who are either in purchasing positions or who influence purchasing decisions. Suppliers of green products and services throughout North America and beyond are invited to participate in the e-blast. (Minimum two suppliers per e-blast.) Green Suppliers Spotlight was created to give vendors an opportunity to reach a high number of industry purchasers at a very low cost—as low as $200 per e-mail. (Click here for rate sheet.)

Those advertising in Green Suppliers Spotlight can include up to 100 words, one image, contact information and multiple links to their website in their ad. At the end of each week, a report will be sent to each supplier with information on delivered e-mails, opens and click-throughs.

Planning Advertising for 2022?

Green Lodging News is accepting reservations for advertising spots for 2022. Many excellent spots are available on our website and in the weekly e-mail newsletter. Many Green Supplier Spotlight dates are also available. Interested in receiving a 2022 media kit? Be sure to contact me as soon as possible at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com. A media kit can also be accessed by clicking here. Thank you to all those companies that consistently support Green Lodging News.

Newsletter & Green Supplier Spotlight Circulation

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As always, I can be reached at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.