How to Establish if Your Building is “Sick” And Ways to Improve Its Health if the Answer is Yes

Have you ever spent time in a building and noticed that your asthma was flaring up, or your allergies were bothering you? Did this happen multiple times during your visits to the building? There may be something in the air that is causing you to experience health issues, and there are studies that show inadequate ventilation/filtration may be the culprit.

ABM recently published a white paper on indoor air quality and facility resilience, and the key take-aways answered the question “What Makes a Building Sick?”.1 The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determines Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) as a term used to describe “situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.”2 According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a division of the CDC, inadequate ventilation is the single highest probable cause of SBS.

After conducting a pre-coronavirus study of “sick buildings”, NIOSH discovered 6 different factors that contribute to Sick Building Syndrome–inadequate venting attributing to more than 50 percent. (see chart below). 3

Source: EPA, “VOC Impact on IAQ” – Nov.207

In other words, proper ventilation is key in maintaining good indoor air quality, along with air cleaning and disinfection and source control through filtration. When exercised properly, these three approaches will reduce the risk of and prevent future airborne contaminants from getting into your facility, impacting indoor air quality, and ultimately effecting building occupants.

The article goes on to discuss the air we breathe–broken down into four categories–ABM’s holistic approach to assessing building and facility risk, essential HVAC functions, disinfection technologies, and more.

Stark Tech specializes in Facility Health & Wellness and has certified experts in Well Buildings. Through best-in-class technology, expertise, and grit, Stark works with our customers to customize solutions that address the appropriate measures and procedures to keep your buildings healthy and your occupants safe and comfortable this winter season.

Stark Tech specializes in turnkey solutions with capabilities and expertise in building controls & automation, mechanical and electrical equipment, and facility data intelligence.


  1. ABM Building Value, “Indoor Air Quality and Facility Resilience; Creating Safer, Healthier Indoor Spaces,” February 2021
  2. United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Indoor Air Facts No. 4 (revised) Sick Building Syndrome ,” February 1991
  3. United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Volatile OrganicCompounds’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality,” November 2017


Jill Szpylman
Jill Szpylman

Jill Szpylman is the Marketing Communications Director for Stark Tech. With a demonstrated history in the clean energy space, Ms. Szpylman has a passion for technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a more sustainable future. Jill is responsible for the execution of the marketing strategy, content development, and sales support collateral for all of Stark Tech and the affiliated business units.



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