Carbon Dioxide (CO2) indoors is created mainly from our breathing, with each exhale adding CO2 to the environment. Other sources are open flames (such as gas stoves), use of fireplaces, and even live candles.
Normal levels of CO2 are based on outdoor levels, which usually exists around 400 parts per million (PPM). When the levels rise above normal outdoor levels, it first impacts our concentration and cognitive functions.
Studies have found negative effects begin as the levels get close to 1,000 PPM and getting significantly worse as the levels go above 1,000 PPM. At that point, building occupants start to feel drowsy or sleepy, complain of headaches, and have difficulty concentrating or completing tasks.
Most workplaces have exposure limits of 5,000 PPM, because CO2 at that level and higher can impact health. At levels above 40,000 PPM, exposure can lead to permanent brain damage, coma and even mortality.
High occupancy rooms, such as classrooms, meeting rooms or auditoriums, on-site cafeterias and large open office areas, will quickly generate high levels of CO2 and impact the occupants’ concentration levels and productivity.
There are no CO2 filter mechanisms to remove CO2. Ventilation (replacing indoor air with outdoor air) is the only way to keep CO2 at acceptable levels. Ventilation can be done either naturally or mechanically. Naturally, by opening enough windows and doors to let the outdoor air flow freely through the building. Mechanically, by using an HVAC system that adds outdoor air to the circulation and removes indoor air.
The Indoor Air Hygiene Institute requires CO2 levels at or below 1,000 PPM for Health/Silver certification, and at or below 600 PPM for Performance/Gold certification and higher.
Many buildings have been focused on green objectives and energy-saving solutions. Unfortunately, those solutions minimize outdoor air intake to save energy, resulting in CO2 build-up.
Certify Your Indoor Air Quality
Ensure you are taking the right steps to provide quality indoor air. Give people the confidence to return indoors.