As we enter COVID/flu/cold season, we’ve already seen national coverage highlighting the need for improved ventilation as a tool in our arsenal for disease mitigation. There also continues to be a need for better indoor air quality as we spend more time indoors. We know the solutions, and there is plenty of money available to update these outdated HVAC systems, but the patchwork of funding, grants, and tax breaks has left many unaware that these solutions even exist.
SMACNA, an association representing more than 3,500 HVAC contracting firms, has been compiling what funding is available when it comes to improving ventilation, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality in the HVAC space with their new site, WeAreWhatWeBreathe.com.
Ventilation and HVAC improvements are crucial. Here are just three reasons for the variety of common indoor spaces Americans are in:
• For Schools – Air Contaminant Mitigation – 90% of schools don’t meet the minimum ventilation standards. The buildup of indoor CO2 from poor ventilation leads to poorer test scores and the increase of pathogens (like COVID-19) in buildings.
• For Homes-– Breathing in Pesticides – About 80% of our exposure to pesticides occurs indoors, with measurable levels of up to a dozen pesticides detected in household air.
• For Offices – Inadequate Ventilation and Sick Building Syndrome – Inadequate ventilation was pinpointed as the primary source of indoor air quality problems in 52% of air quality investigations by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. There’s even a name for the side effects experienced like headaches, nausea, and skin irritation, “Sick Building Syndrome.”
Better ventilation can help alleviate these problems. To that point, I’m happy to connect you with someone from SMACNA who can provide insight into what opportunities are available to homeowners, business owners, and school districts including:
• Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund – $122 billion in funding for primary and secondary schools to use towards indoor air improvement projects
• Inflation Reduction Act Tax Rebates – Installing a heat pump increases energy efficiency and can improve ventilation. In some cases, the tax credits and rebates from the Inflation Reduction Act can cover up to 100% of the heat pump installation costs. There are also tax reductions for businesses that install new, more efficient HVAC systems.
Each building and project has its own needs, but with the guidance of an HVAC professional and identifying the proper funding opportunities, better ventilation can be achieved.