Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) announced in January plans to begin assessing indoor air quality. PIT was the first U.S. airport to use Honeywell’s Healthy Buildings dashboard and air sensors. The system measured and tracked indoor air quality at the airport to better determine what the building’s IAQ strengths and weaknesses were.
The air sensors tracked humidity, temperature, CO2, VOCs and particulate matter levels throughout the airport. The dashboard used the sensor data to pinpoint indoor air quality problem areas and sources.
PIT’s goal for the project was to create safer experiences for both travelers and staff. After fielding a survey on airport workers, Honeywell found 61% of airport staff were concerned about COVID-19 airborne transmission. And 40% of staff were concerned about poor building ventilation.
“The emphasis on air quality has greatly increased due to COVID-19, and airports must look to adjust our facilities for the long term to create safer environments for travelers and the people who make travel happen every day,” said April Gasparri, a senior vice president at PIT, for The Times.
This is just one example of an airport incorporating a healthy building program in their indoor space. Large and small airports across the country have started similar processes. And the rest–will likely follow suit.
Will Every Airport Improve Indoor Air Quality?
As more people get vaccinated, customers and businesses are wondering if the increased demand for IAQ upgrades will start to decrease. Josh Jacobs, the director of environmental codes & standards at the U.S. Green Building Council believes the IAQ industry will continue to grow, especially in school buildings, restaurants and airports.
It starts with a verified healthy building program. Jacobs says every airport should participate in a scientifically-backed third-party program to start the assessment process. After assessing HVAC systems and indoor air quality, airports will have a better idea of what upgrades are necessary.
According to @TravelPulse , both Chicago O’Hare Airport and Los Angeles International airport are amongst the top 10 safest airports in the US one year into the Covid-19 pandemic. pic.twitter.com/GrAXIu3kEm— AtmosAir Solutions (@Atmos_Air) March 29, 2021
“A lot of studies that are coming out about COVID say that the better airflow, the better movement of air, the less particulate matter you have in your air, the less chance there is for that overload of the COVID-19 virus on us in the potential future pandemics,” Jacobs said in a recent AviationPros podcast. “We have no idea what the next pandemic is going to look like. It will probably be airborne.”
Opportunity for IAQ Professionals to Help Create Healthy Airport Buildings
There are lots of opportunities for IAQ professionals to capitalize on airport and building air quality jobs. An HVAC contractor with no or little IAQ knowledge will not suffice. That’s because airports across the country will rely on local IAQ professionals to run tests, make recommendations and install solutions. Lastly, there’s also a need for ongoing IAQ maintenance and service agreements to consider.
Now is the time to get your business started in IAQ. It’s an easy way to differentiate your company, it’s highly profitable and it’s rewarding. You can help airports provide cleaner, fresher air for customers and staff.