// September 12, 2016

Indoor Air Quality

// Case Study

Improper ventilation, high concentrations of VOCs, and indoor mold can all contribute to Sick Building Syndrome.

// The Case

MEG Energy is a Canadian oil sands company focused on sustainable development and oil sands recovery. They had just relocated their corporate office to the new Centennial Tower in Calgary, Alberta, and had begun to encounter some problems.

From the start, MEG was concerned about employee health. The construction materials, carpeting, and flooring of the new building resulted in off-gassing of volatile organic compounds. VOC levels in the building were unhealthily high, and employees began to report symptoms characteristic “Sick Building Syndrome”. Improper ventilation, high concentrations of VOCs, and indoor mold can all contribute to Sick Building Syndrome. It can cause headaches, nausea, respiratory infections, and stress-like symptoms.

Employees reported headaches and drowsiness almost immediately after the corporate move. Concerned, MEG measured their VOC levels and found that they were as high as 8000 parts per million. Sick days were skyrocketing.

Employees also reported irritatingly strong food odors in many areas of the building. Each of MEG’s eight floors had its own cafeteria and lunchroom, and cooking odors would migrate to occupied working areas. The odors were distracting, and contributed to poor employee health and absenteeism.

Odorox installed twelve induct units into the existing HVAC system duct work on each floor, to treat all occupied spaces. Almost immediately, employee symptoms were reduced. Within a month, VOC levels had dropped from 8000 ppm to 50 ppm. Two months after use of the machines, VOCs were down to zero. Employees reported fewer headaches and other symptoms, and sick days reached pre-move levels.