Why Indoor Air Quality is Important for Your Business

Why Indoor Air Quality is Important for Your Business

Why Indoor Air Quality is Important for Your Business

As colder weather approaches, many of us will spend more time indoors. An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indoor air study found that the average American spends 87% of their time inside buildings and 6% inside automobiles, totaling 93%1 of their life spent indoors.

While outdoor activity and recreation increased for many people during the pandemic,2 we still spend a surprisingly large amount of our time inside our homes, office buildings, schools, restaurants, stores and other indoor spaces. Given the extent of the time we all spend indoors, it’s important to understand the various factors that go into indoor air quality and the steps we can take to mitigate risks.   

Indoor Pollutants

Concentrations of some pollutants can be two to five times higher inside compared to typical outdoor concentrations.3 The most prevalent indoor air pollutants include excess moisture (causing mildew and dust mites), volatile organic compounds (in paints, aerosol sprays, disinfectants and pesticides), carbon monoxide (from electrical appliances, fuel-burning appliances or attached garages) and radon (from building materials, the water supply or natural gas).4, 5

Ventilation, CO2 and Cognitive Function

In addition to hazards from indoor pollutants, poor ventilation inside buildings can bring its own set of issues, including increased risk of airborne viral transmission and reduced cognitive function. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is often used as an indirect measure of ventilation. When a building is occupied, the CO2 concentrations indoors are elevated by occupants exhaling.6

A study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health showed that higher ventilation rates and lower CO2 levels can positively affect cognitive function and performance in a workplace setting. According to the study, people who worked in well-ventilated environments with below-average levels of indoor pollutants and CO2 had significantly higher cognitive functioning scores in crucial areas such as responding to a crisis or developing strategy than similar individuals who worked in offices with typical pollutant and CO2 levels.7 Similar findings came out of a study on students and the indoor classroom environment: poor ventilation in schools was associated with fatigue, lower attention span, loss of concentration and lower test scores.8

Transmission of Viruses

Another potential risk with poor ventilation and greater CO2 concentrations is a higher likelihood of transmitting some respiratory viruses. Measles, influenza (the flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human rhinovirus (the predominant cause of the common cold), adenovirus and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID) have all been shown to spread through airborne transmission.9

Ways to Mitigate Risk Indoors

Considering these various risks, what can businesses do to create as good of an air quality environment as possible for their employees and customers? The EPA notes that source control and improved ventilation are two of several basic strategies to improve indoor air quality. Source control, or eliminating individual sources of pollution, is a cost-effective way to improve indoor air (for example, sealing or enclosing areas with asbestos or adjusting a gas stove to decrease its emissions).

To improve ventilation, introducing outdoor air is an important factor, whether through natural ventilation (opening doors and windows, using fans to increase the effectiveness of open doors and windows) or mechanical means (utilizing outdoor air intakes associated with the building’s HVAC system).10

Many businesses might not be aware of their CO2 levels or whether they have adequate ventilation in their spaces. Modern carbon dioxide monitoring solutions11, like Honeywell’s Transmission Risk Air Monitor, provide valuable information that small-to-medium-sized businesses can use to understand their CO2 levels and allow them to take action when necessary. The device, designed and created utilizing a University of Colorado research study, provides a user-friendly, portable and cost-effective way to monitor CO2 in indoor environments in real time, analyzing specific air-quality conditions and alerting users to risk. Its proprietary risk alerting system is based on activity levels within a room. The Transmission Risk Air Monitor is a reflection of Honeywell’s commitment to help business owners create an air quality environment that supports both staff and customer activity.

Learn More

To learn more about CO2 monitoring for business environments and how it can benefit both the business and its customers, read our whitepaper or contact us. [IC1]


The HTRAM analyzes specific air quality conditions and alerts the user when conditions are present that may increase the risk of potential exposure to airborne viral transmission. The device does not prevent or reduce virus transmission nor mitigate viruses that may be present, nor does it detect or warn against the presence of any virus, including but not limited to COVID-19. Even at lower risk levels caution is required to prevent viral transmission. The HTRAM does not repel or destroy any microorganism, viruses, bacteria, or germs.

  • It is buyer’s sole responsibility (1) to determine the suitability of the HTRAM for use in its application, (2) to operate the HTRAM in accordance with the user manual and any other instructions provided by Honeywell and in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations and (3) to determine, based on buyer’s experience, expertise and other available tools, the suitability of any product or service it may offer or recommend to the end user.
  • Buyer is responsible for determining whether the product is appropriate for use under certain international, federal, state or local guidelines and is likewise responsible for determining whether the HTRAM is subject to any government programs, including without limitation, reimbursement plans.
  • Any recommendations or assistance provided by Honeywell regarding the use or operation of the HTRAM – through our literature, the Honeywell website, or otherwise – shall not be construed as representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, and such information is accepted at buyer’s own risk and without any obligation or liability to Honeywell.
  • The HTRAM does not detect for levels of CO2 that would make for an unsafe or unsuitable breathing environment.
  • The information we supply in this white paper is believed to be accurate and reliable as of this writing. However, specifications may change without notice, and Honeywell assumes no responsibility for its use.
  • For more information and the most recent User Manual, go to https://airmonitoring.honeywell.com/#/doc/help


1 - https://www.epa.gov/report-environment/indoor-air-quality#:~:text=Americans%2C%20on%20average%2C%20spend%20approximately,higher%20than%20typical%20outdoor%20concentrations.

2 - https://www.mdpi.com/2073-445X/10/12/1396

3 - https://www.epa.gov/report-environment/indoor-air-quality#:~:text=Americans%2C%20on%20average%2C%20spend%20approximately,higher%20than%20typical%20outdoor%20concentrations.

4 - https://savannahairfactory.com/what-are-the-4-major-indoor-air-pollutants/

5 - https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/radon/where_found.html#:~:text=The%20main%20source%20of%20indoor%20radon%20is%20radon%20gas%20infiltration,slab%2Don%2Dgrade%20foundations.

6 – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0196655321007604

7 – https://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/27662232

8 - https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/school-buildings-student-health-performance/#:~:text=Environmental%20exposures%20in%20school%20buildings,Public%20Health's%20Healthy%20Buildings%20Program  

9 - https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abd9149#:~:text=Despite%20the%20assumed%20dominance%20of,%2C%20enterovirus%20(29)%2C%20severe

10 - https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/improving-indoor-air-quality

11 - https://ncceh.ca/sites/default/files/FINAL%20-%20Using%20Indoor%20CO2%20Sensors%20for%20COVID%20MAY%2017%202021.pdf

 [IC1]Link to whitepaper - HGAS-CO2 Monitoring_Whitepater - general verticals - Final