Healthy buildings: what they mean for the HVAC industry

Published: 21 July 2020

The healthy building movement promotes the health and wellbeing of its occupants, whether they live, work or play in the space.

A healthy building is not only good for its users and the environment, but it can also help reduce building costs over time.

Many workplaces have adopted healthy building practices to keep their staff happy, healthy, and ultimately boost their productivity.

Healthy buildings also consider the sustainability and the impact of the built environment, as well as other factors.

Read on to learn more about sick building syndrome, healthy buildings and what they mean for the HVAC industry.

How to measure healthy buildings

There are a range of factors to consider in healthy buildings, including site selection, building design and indoor environmental quality.

When it comes to site selection, building owners and managers look at factors like the distances people travel to work or proximity to green spaces.

For building design, building owners and managers consider spaces that promote health and wellbeing such as social areas, collaboration spaces and nursing rooms to support mothers.

Indoor environmental quality is wide-ranging and includes indoor air quality (IAQ), temperature, lighting, and other factors.

There is also an increasing number of methodologies and rating schemes used to determine healthy buildings.

These rating schemes include the Green Building Council Australia Green Star rating, as well as the BREEAM, LEED, and WELL Building standards.

What is sick building syndrome?

Healthy building practices can help prevent sick building syndrome, where people and their health are negatively impacted by the buildings that they work or live in.

Sick building syndrome covers a range of illnesses and symptoms, and can come from a variety of sources.

Indoor air quality is a major concern in buildings, according to the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

As buildings have become increasingly sealed from the external environment, pollutants can develop at higher concentrations, leading to poor indoor air quality and resulting in adverse impacts on the health of building occupants.

Healthy buildings and the HVAC industry

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry plays a key role in helping construct and maintain healthy buildings.

HVAC specialists support healthy indoor air quality in buildings through expert maintenance and servicing of HVAC systems.

The HVAC industry can investigate and address indoor air quality issues in buildings, as well as provide preventative maintenance to mitigate poor outcomes before they arise.

The Air Conditioning & Mechanical Contractors’ Association (AMCA) supports healthy buildings and the HVAC businesses and employees that help keep them safe, healthy and productive for their occupants.

To support our members, the AMCA offers a range of accredited training programs, including qualifications and short courses, that have been designed for companies in the commercial HVAC industry.

The AMCA has also advocated for better performing buildings through its policy activities, including comprehensive policy positions specifically on sustainable, high performance buildings.

If you want to learn more about the AMCA and our work supporting Australia’s HVAC industry, you can get in touch via our contact page.