Air Quality at 720 King – The Facts

How are air quality tests done at 720 King West?

Our building is divided into air sampling points according to a specific number of square feet and each tenant’s ventilation system. Samples of air are collected in metal canisters from these “sampling points” and then analyzed for the level of contaminants and VOCs. Our air experts look mainly for formaldehyde as well as airborne mold and mildew. Our indoor air is also compared to samples taken from outdoor air.

The testing takes place on three consecutive days when the building is fully occupied. The average the results of each three-day test cycle to make sure our indoor air quality is maintained at the required level for compliance.

What is an HVAC system?

An HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) system refers to the equipment that provides heating, cooling, filtered outdoor air and humidity control in a building.

Think about a building’s HVAC system as the main pathway and driving force for movement of air through interior spaces. As the air moves, it interacts with building components —walls, rugs, furniture, cleaning products, etc. —as well as the occupants.

A good HVAC system therefore goes beyond pumping hot or cold air into a room. It ensures indoor air quality by dealing effectively with airborne contaminants and maintaining a consistent temperature and humidity.

What does MERV means?

MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value.” MERV ratings are used to rate the ability of an air cleaner filter to remove dust from the air as it passes through the filter.

The MERV scale ranges from 1 to 16, and measures a filter’s ability to remove particles from .30 to 10 microns in size. 100 microns is about the thickness of a piece of paper or a human hair—we’re talking about tiny particles. Filters with higher ratings not only remove more particles from the air, they also remove these smaller particles.

However, a higher MERV creates more resistance to airflow because the filter media becomes denser as efficiency increases. So for the cleanest air, select the highest MERV filter that your unit is capable of forcing air through based on the limit of the unit’s fan power.

What’s my fair share of fresh air?

Buildings that meet LEED standards (like ours) have to meet one of the highest standards for how much occupied space must be ventilated by outdoor air—90%!
Your “fair share” means that no matter where you work in the building, you receive the same amount of fresh air as everyone else.

Air balancing is the process of testing and adjusting the air conditioning and heating so that the right amount of air flow reaches each workstation— and every individual. Air balancing ensures that everyone gets their fair share.

Learn about Green Seal.

Green Seal was developed in the late 1980s to help shoppers and purchasers identify green products. Products that pass the Green Seal Certification process meet rigorous performance, health, and environmental criteria. This is criteria listed as Green Seal Standards. Green Seal certification helps manufacturers back up their environmental claims and helps purchasers identify products that are safer for human health and the environment.

What is low VOC?

Volatile Organic Compounds are carbon-containing gases and vapors given off by a various indoor air sources such as rugs, fabrics, paints, adhesives, cleaners, etc. High concentrations of VOCs are known to cause a number of health problems, including eye and throat irritation, headaches, and damage to the liver and nervous system.

A low-VOC, product has no or very low VOC’s. Requirements for being “low” depend on the product. Low-VOC emitting paints, for example, have concentrations below 50 grams per litre.

GREENGUARD Certification is one of the most rigorous and comprehensive for ensuring that a product meets low emissions standards.

Guess how many ceiling fans at 720 King West?

11 (one for each floor plus the parking lot)
Over 500

¡ןןɐ ɯǝɥʇ buıʇunoɔ ǝɯıʇ puǝds oʇ ʇuɐʍ ʇ’upıp ǝʍ ‘ʎuɐɯ os ǝɹɐ ǝɹǝɥʇ ‘sı ɥʇnɹʇ ǝɥʇ :005 ɹǝʌO

Send your Green Council a message.


How did 720 King West earned LEED Gold?

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) evaluates the environmental performance of a building and encourages sustainable design and construction. LEED green building certification can be based on many combinations of design, construction and ongoing operational strategies.

LEED Gold was awarded our building last year because of high performance achievements in the following areas:
• Water efficiency
• Materials and resources (purchasing and waste)
• Energy
• Indoor environmental quality (including air quality, green cleaning)
• Innovation and design (Green Council, exemplary performance)

If we just consider the air quality category, LEED requires that outdoor air performance is thoroughly circulated and appropriately mixed with conditioned indoor air.
 Outdoor air ventilation distribution systems therefore must be designed, modified and maintained to supply specified ventilation rates and maintained according to strict guidelines. All building exhaust systems – including washrooms, showers, kitchens, and parking areas – must be tested and maintained according to adequate building operation protocols.

720 King achieved LEED Gold through the combined efforts of the Green Council, represented by the building’s tenants, the staff at Triovest and Green Reason Inc. (a sustainable building consulting and project management firm).

Get the facts on secondary smoke.

Warning: The following is unpleasant to think about. Read for your health!

When you’re near someone who’s smoking, it’s just as if you are smoking too!
You are exposed to the hundreds of harmful chemicals as smokers and more than 70 of them are known to cause cancer. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, every year, more than 800 Canadians who don’t smoke die from second-hand smoke.

Second-hand smoke:
• Puts you at risk of developing lung cancer
• Increases your risk for lung disease, heart disease, heart attacks and stroke.
• Makes you congested and causes you to cough.
• Can irritate your skin, eyes, nose and throat.
• Makes allergies or breathing problems (like asthma) worse.

A positive note: The MERV filters installed on the HVAC system at 720 have a MERV rating that filters out second hand smoke. Whew!