As the importance of Indoor Air Quality gains recognition, Facilities Managers should consider prioritising IAQ services in their future financial budgets. The Australian Federal Budget provisions for IAQ assessments and energy efficiency grants which presents opportunities for Facilities Managers to enhance IAQ while aligning with national initiatives.
The Importance of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
IAQ refers to the quality of air within buildings, which can significantly impact the health, comfort, and productivity of occupants. Poor IAQ has been linked to various health issues, including respiratory problems, allergies, headaches, and fatigue. Moreover, it can lead to reduced cognitive function and increased absenteeism among building occupants. By addressing IAQ concerns, facilities managers can create healthier and more productive environments, thereby enhancing the overall performance of the building and its occupants. Further to that, Improving indoor air quality can play a significant role in preventing the spread of airborne infections as more effective air filtration systems capture and remove airborne contaminants, including viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
Responsibilities of Facility Management
Facilities managers play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth operation and maintenance of buildings. As environmental concerns and occupant well-being gain prominence, the focus on indoor air quality (IAQ) has become paramount. Recognising the importance of providing healthy and conducive indoor environments, facilities managers should consider adding IAQ services to their financial budgets. This article highlights the significance of IAQ, its impact on occupants, and references to the Australian federal budget, demonstrating why facilities managers should prioritise IAQ in their own budgetary planning.
High levels of CO2, humidity and particulate matter can lead to fatigue, a loss of concentration, and poor learning performance.
The government’s Schools Upgrade Fund set aside more than $270m to support improvements to ventilation and air quality, as well as larger refurbishments to public schools.
Studies show that indoor air quality (IAQ) has a broad impact on students’ health and wellbeing, influencing factors such as cognition, productivity and fatigue, as well as avoiding allergies. 
Australian Federal Budget Initiatives
The Australian federal government has recognised the significance of IAQ and has taken steps to address this issue in recent budgets. The references below highlight the government's commitment to improving IAQ and provide incentives for facilities managers to invest in IAQ services.
- Funding for IAQ Assessments: The 2023 Australian federal budget includes provisions for funding IAQ assessments in public buildings. This allocation demonstrates the government's acknowledgment of the importance of IAQ and the need for thorough evaluations to identify and address IAQ concerns. Facilities managers can leverage this funding to conduct comprehensive IAQ assessments and implement appropriate remediation measures.
- Energy Efficiency Grants with IAQ Focus: Another notable initiative in the federal budget is the provision of energy efficiency grants with a specific emphasis on IAQ improvements. These grants aim to support facilities managers in implementing energy-efficient upgrades that positively impact IAQ. By availing of these grants, facilities managers can align their IAQ goals with sustainability targets, making their buildings healthier and more environmentally friendly.
The economic burden from all lower respiratory infections in Australia exceeded $1.6 billion in 2018–19.  Although it is unlikely that we could eliminate respiratory infections by controlling airborne transmission in shared indoor spaces, we can substantially reduce them. If hospital admissions occasioned by these diseases could be halved by limiting airborne infections, tens of thousands of Australians would remain healthy, saving hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
Benefit from Investing in IAQ:
Allocating a portion of your financial budget to IAQ services can yield several benefits for facilities managers:
- Enhanced Occupant Health and Well-being: By proactively addressing IAQ concerns, facilities managers create healthier indoor environments, minimising the risk of health issues among occupants. This, in turn, leads to increased satisfaction, improved productivity, and reduced absenteeism.
- Regulatory Compliance: Compliance with IAQ regulations is critical to maintaining corporate responsibility by providing a safe and healthy workplace. Allocating funds to IAQ services allows facilities managers to stay ahead of regulatory requirements and ensure adherence to relevant guidelines.
- Long-term Cost Savings: Investing in IAQ services can result in long-term cost savings. By identifying and mitigating IAQ issues promptly, facilities managers can prevent extensive repairs and minimise the risk of expensive litigation due to occupant health complaints.
- Improved Building Performance: Optimal IAQ positively impacts various building systems, including HVAC, by reducing strain on equipment and enhancing energy efficiency. This, in turn, leads to lower maintenance costs, extended equipment lifespan, and improved overall building performance.
As the importance of healthy indoor environments gains recognition, facilities managers should seek to prioritise IAQ services in their financial budgets. The Australian federal budget provisions for IAQ assessments and energy efficiency grants present opportunities for facilities managers to enhance IAQ while aligning with national initiatives. By investing in IAQ, facilities managers can improve occupant health, comply with regulations, realise long-term cost savings, and enhance overall building performance. Embracing IAQ services is not just a financial investment but a commitment to creating healthier and more productive indoor spaces.
 https://www.theeducatoronline.com/k12/news/governments-270m-push-to-make-classrooms-safer/281339  Gibson G, Loddenkemper R, Sibille Y, Lundbäck B. The economic burden of lung disease [website]. European Lung White Book Sheffield, European Respiratory Society; 2013. https://www.erswhitebook.org/chapters/the‐economic‐burden‐of‐lung‐disease/ .  Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Health expenditure Australia 2018–19 [Cat. No. HWE 80]. AIHW, 2020. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/health‐welfare‐expenditure/health‐expenditure‐australia‐2018‐19/contents/data‐visualisation
Safe indoor air from a serviced HVAC system means a lower particle count and less breathing difficulties for occupants of the building. Clean-Air are NADCA Certified Duct Cleaning and IICRC mould remediation experts with the knowledge and experience to test, treat and eliminate serious mould-related risks within your HVAC system. If you have concerns about the air in your building and would like an Indoor Air Quality health check, contact our team today.