Is the use of particle air filtration justified? Costs and benefits of filtration with regard to health effects, building cleaning and occupant productivity

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Estimates of costs and the corresponding benefits of particle filtration have been derived for a standard office building. Reduction in occupants’ exposure to particles during their workday is anticipated to reduce their morbidity and mortality. Filtration may also reduce the costs associated with building and HVAC cleaning. Conversely, losses of occupant productivity due to sensory offending pollutants emitted from used ventilation filters can lead to significant economic losses. The results of the present analysis are strongly dependent on several key input parameters; consequently, the sensitivity of the results to these parameters was evaluated as part of this study. The study also acknowledges that the benefits-to-costs ratio depends on the perspective of the stakeholder: the employer renting the building is impacted by occupant performance and building energy costs; the building owner is impacted by maintenance of the building and its HVAC system; society is impacted by the employees’ health and welfare. Regardless of perspective, particle filtration is anticipated to lead to annual savings significantly exceeding the running costs for filtration. However, economic losses resulting from even a small decrease in productivity caused by sensory pollutants emitted from used ventilation filters have the potential to substantially exceed the annual economic benefits of filtration. Further studies are required to determine if meaningful benefits can be obtained from more frequent filter replacement or application of different filtration techniques that limit the emission of offending pollutants into the ventilation air.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBuilding and Environment
Volume43
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1647-1657
ISSN0360-1323
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • Mortality
  • Cost–benefit evaluation
  • Particle filtration
  • Morbidity

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