Indoor Air Quality Facts and Statistics

  • According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indoor air pollution is one of the top 5 environmental risks to public health affecting as much as 30% of all commercial buildings.
  • In the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publication Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings, it is stated that experts believe more people suffer from the effects of indoor air pollution than from outdoor air pollution.
  • Poor indoor air quality has a tremendous impact on the health and comfort of office workers. It is estimated that IAQ problems cost the US economy as much as $168 billion per year.
  • The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Surveys of 1991, 1997 and 2003 all place poor Indoor Air Quality in the top 10 Complaints of Corporate Tenants.
  • The study “Health and productivity gains from better indoor environments and their relationship with building energy efficiency” (2000) states the estimated potential annual savings and productivity gains are: $6 to $14 billion from reduced respiratory disease
    • $1 to $4 billion from reduced allergies and asthma
    • $10 to $30 billion from reduced sick building syndrome symptoms
    • $20 to $160 billion from direct improvements in worker performance unrelated to health.
  • In a Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory study, it was estimated that the direct cost to the U.S. economy due to increased allergies, asthma and Sick Building Syndrome symptoms were between $7 – $23 Billion per year and a large portion of these costs was estimated to be in the form of Workmen’s Compensation claims, health care insurance premiums and direct health care costs – mostly borne by the claimants’ employers.
  • The American Lung association states that US adults miss about 14 million workdays per year as a result asthma an issue commonly triggered by poor IAQ.
  • Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) are acute symptoms such as nose, eye irritation, headache associated with occupancy in a specific building but not indicating **a specific disease. In a survey of 100 US offices, 23% of office workers or 64 million workers frequently experienced 2 or more SBS symptoms at work.
  • The average decrement of productivity caused by SBS has an annual cost of $60 billion dollars.
  • A BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association )/ULI (Urban Land Institute) Office -Tenant survey of 1800 office tenants in 126 metropolitan areas found that IAQ is one of the most important components of job satisfaction.
  • In 2000, the EPA stated that a modest investment towards improving IAQ would generate substantial returns.
  • According to the “Indoor Air Quality and Office Property Value” study the return on investment in an IAQ program could be as much as 78.56% while property values could increase by up to 3.85%.
  • The “Cost-Benefit Analysis of Improved Air Quality in an Office Building” study indicates that the performance of typical office work may increase by 5% when air quality is improved.
  • According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) If indoor air quality is not well managed, remediation of ensuing problems and/or resolution in court can be extremely costly.
  • In a study conducted by the American Insurance Association between 2007 and 2009 there were approximately $9.1 billion dollars spent in property losses associated with water damage.
  • As stated in the OSHA document, Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings (OSHA 3430-04 2011) Failure of building owners and operators to respond quickly and effectively to IAQ problems can lead to numerous adverse health consequences.
  • According to Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS 2005), green properties earn higher rents, attract tenants and buyers more quickly and cost less to operate.
  • Per “Sustaining the Workforce”, Property Australia, by J Crossley 2008, Employers are willing to relocate for gains in health and productivity, happier more productive staff and a healthy working environment are virtually priceless.
  • Aon Environmental Risk Services in Houston indicates that more and more Indoor Air Quality legal claims are being filed. There have been several high profile Indoor Air Quality litigation cases that have been settled for sizable amounts.
  • The Call vs. Prudential case was the first major IAQ case to go to a trial and was rumored to be settled in the multi millions.
  • In the Polk County, Florida Courthouse case, the courthouse was found to cause sick building syndrome. The final settlement for that case was $35 million dollars.
  • In the Martin County, Florida Courthouse IAQ case, the jury awarded damages of $13.7million to the county.
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