More than ever we need to think about the impacts of our behaviour on the space around us. How can we conserve energy, are the products we use sustainable, what practical measures can we take to lessen our environmental footprint and still remain competitive? The good news is a sensible building management program focused on identifying potential issues, trained observation, monitoring, holistic cleaning and remediation can not only have a strong sustainable focus but improve building occupant’s health.
At the core of sustainability is the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle, and these processes can easily be incorporated into asset management in most buildings in Australia. In fact much of this discussion centres on REDUCE.
When a building is flooded or sustains water damage one of the first things people tend to do is rip out and replace the cladding but this is not generally required if mitigation and structural drying is undertaken early. When water ingress is ignored or design issues are not rectified mould can damage wall and ceiling cladding and even structural elements of the structure; all of which can be avoided with trained observation, monitoring, holistic cleaning and appropriate remediation.
Throughout much of Australia air conditioners are common. At the heart of any air conditioner are cooling coils (both within and external to the air conditioner). During operation the cooling coil gets damp and can build up with organic residues which decrease the efficiency of the heat transfer process and uses more energy. Routine hygiene maintenance of the coil not only improves the quality of the air circulating across internal the coil but also reduces energy use by up to 25% particularly when bio-active enzymes are used to help retard future growth of bio-films.
Asset protection via mechanical maintenance is commonplace but what is also needed is a hygiene maintenance program. Examples of increasing the service life of assets via appropriate cleaning include prolonged life of carpet: regular deep fibre cleans as opposed to the all too common aesthetic vacuuming can add many years to carpet; minimisation of corrosion on fan blades and other ducted air handler components from bio-film build up and rust can generally add five years to plant life.
In the push to use less energy we are seeing more buildings with less potential for natural venting, insightful design can reduce the need for mechanical heating and cooling. Generally increased ventilation increases air quality and comes with reduced potential for costly mould remediation. Above all design must be in harmony with the local environment; what works in one climatic area may not work in another due to differences in temperature and relative humidity.
Ultimately, scheduled hygiene maintenance not only increases the service life of assets which goes a long way towards sustainability; but it also assist in providing occupants with improved air quality and with that comes enhanced occupant satisfaction which leads to lower tenancy turnover and less frequent fit-out which also contributes to sustainable building behaviour.
For more information visit www.mould.com.au