What Service Sales Teams Should Know About Indoor Air Quality

Did you know that, on average, Americans spend nearly 90% of their entire lives indoors? And while people have always paid close attention to certain aspects of their indoor environments, such as a comfortable temperature and adequate lighting, indoor air quality hasn’t had the same level of interest. That is until COVID-19 forced people everywhere to seriously consider the quality of the air we breathe.

The airborne nature of the COVID-19 virus means that ventilation and air quality have become major topics in the fight against the disease. Even though we are starting to see the effects of the global pandemic subsiding, we don’t expect the increased attention to indoor air quality (IAQ) to reverse course any time soon.

Service sales teams need to understand the trends related to IAQ—and how these trends are affecting their customers—to hone in on the right prospects with the right pitch.

Increased Occupant Interest in IAQ Makes Healthy Building Certifications More Relevant

As the world navigates today’s new normal, offices and public spaces are filling with people once again. And these people bring with them a newfound appreciation and expectation for cleaner air. Property owners must be able to convince tenants that their buildings meet air quality expectations.

Healthy building certifications provide frameworks for property owners to ensure their spaces meet industry standards for occupant health. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, these certifications may cover a variety of areas, including ventilation and air quality, as well as issues related to water, temperature, dust, lighting, noise, moisture, and safety.

There are many healthy building certifications with varying approaches, requirements, and costs: 

WELL Building Standard is one of the most popular certifications worldwide. This certification process uses scientific and medical research to identify ways to create environments that prioritize the health and well-being of occupants. Buildings can earn one of four levels of WELL certification—Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum—based on the overall score across 10 unique concepts, including air, water, and light. Some of the specific requirements for the WELL certification include:

  • Meeting acceptable thresholds for particulate matter, which can be as low as 15 µg/m3 for some non-industrial spaces
  • Having a building entrance that includes “grilles, grates, or [floor mats]” and double or revolving entrance doors to from the exterior of the building

The Fitwel Rating System is another popular choice for those interested in the health of their tenants and the indoor air quality of their buildings. The Fitwel certification integrates “the best strategies that science has to offer” to ensure property owners are at the leading edge of sustainable and healthy building practices.

The RESET Standard is another widely used system that offers five modular certification standards: Materials, Air, Water, Energy, and Circularity. This unique certification program uses real-time performance-driven data collected by sensors throughout the property, allowing for continuous quality monitoring and benchmarking. The RESET Air Standard monitors air quality across the following parameters:

  • Particulate Matter (PM2.5)
  • Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC)
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
  • Temperature
  • Relative Humidity

Indoor air quality plays a central role in many of the leading healthy building certifications, which gives service sales teams a unique opportunity. Leveraging your IAQ and HVAC expertise, you can position your services as a vital step toward obtaining a healthy building certification.

Indoor air quality plays a central role in many of the leading healthy building certifications, which gives service sales teams a unique opportunity. Leveraging your IAQ and HVAC expertise, you can position your services as a vital step toward obtaining a healthy building certification.

Smart Monitoring Tools Make It Easier to Control Indoor Air Quality

Even when building managers follow the CDC’s updated recommendations for HVAC systems to the letter–including increased air filtration, installation and replacement of HEPA filters, and the addition of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI)–buildings can still develop areas of poor air quality. These air quality hotspots can occur due to structural details such as poor air circulation in certain areas of the building, or they could be due to transitory events throughout the day, such as when dozens of employees group together waiting for the elevator after lunch.

But new technologies are making it possible to monitor and adjust air quality in real-time.

Smart indoor air quality monitoring systems provide facilities managers with real-time data to adapt to air quality changes as they happen. A network of smart sensors can give property managers insights into the areas (or specific times of day) where they might need to supplement their standard air quality control methods with additional air-cleaning techniques, such as UVC (Ultraviolet-C) lighting or additional ventilation and extraction equipment.

And there may be no better time than now to pitch the smart monitoring solutions. A recent report by Microsoft found that the average cost for an IoT sensor had dropped to as low as $0.44, a decline of nearly 200% since 2004.

Preventative Maintenance Ensures the Clean Air Keeps Pumping

Of course, even the best monitors and filters won’t do anything for air quality if the HVAC system goes on the fritz. Sales reps capitalizing on the increased interest in IAQ should also emphasize the importance of keeping existing HVAC systems properly maintained.

Not only is preventative maintenance a sound financial choice, resulting in an estimated $4 of savings for every $1 spent, but it also has a tangible effect on the overall health of the building’s occupants. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency lists preventative maintenance as one of the three keys to creating healthy, reliable, and efficient buildings.

Commercial services professionals who keep HVAC systems running through preventative maintenance can help property managers ensure their indoor air quality efforts don’t go off the rails due to unexpected downtime.

Convex Equips Your Team with Insights into the Market Climate

As the healthy buildings trend evolves over the coming years, indoor air quality will only grow in importance for commercial property owners and tenants. Luckily, with the right knowledge and market insights, commercial HVAC service sales teams can help their clients breathe easily, both literally and figuratively.

With sales and market intelligence solutions from Convex, sales teams can access key data about their addressable market and details about individual properties–including information about certifications, inspections, and more–so you can identify which properties could benefit the most from an upgrade in indoor air quality.

For more info on how Convex can help your sales team, schedule a demo today.

Originally published on May 12, 2022 Updated on August 15, 2022

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