Why is Temperature Important for Indoor Air Quality?

Protecting the world from infectious disease

Ever noticed that viral respiratory infections are more common during the winter?

When thinking about the term indoor air quality (IAQ), the first thing that likely comes to mind is the cleanliness of the air. However, basic indoor air quality measurements, such as temperature, relative humidity, and carbon dioxide levels, can provide an insightful overview of current indoor air conditions.

temperature reading on an indoor air quality dashboard

What is Temperature in Relation to Indoor Air Quality?

Temperature is a fundamental indication of indoor air quality – not just for comfort but also for controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses. Often underappreciated in creating healthy indoor environments, proper temperature management is critical for creating a future of healthy buildings. 

Why is Temperature Important for Indoor Air Quality?

The relationship between indoor temperatures and the spread and activity of viruses suggests that viral respiratory infections are more likely to occur in the winter due to cold temperatures that reduce the resistance of mucous membranes and dry out nasal passages.

Keeping room temperatures between 66 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (19-24 degrees Celsius) prevents excessive drying of the nasal passage that causes occupants to be more susceptible to viruses like the common cold. 

Research by environmental health microbiologist Lisa Casanova shows that, compared to colder temperatures of 39 degrees Fahrenheit, room temperatures of 68 degrees Fahrenheit can significantly reduce the infection rate of viruses. Temperatures that are even warmer (86 degrees Fahrenheit) may block or render the transmission of influenza viruses inefficient. 

While temperature is not the only factor to consider when creating and maintaining a healthy indoor environment, it is, perhaps, one of the most important. Raising awareness about the role of temperature in indoor air quality is vital for reducing the risk of airborne viruses like SARS-CoV-2, influenza, and colds from thriving and spreading in indoor environments.

As the world becomes more and more aware of the importance of indoor air quality, temperature management will become an integral component of designing healthier buildings in the future.

How to Manage Temperature in Your Building

Do you have an effective IAQ program that ensures a healthy and safe building? Employees and visitors expect business leaders to have their health and wellbeing in mind, and managing indoor temperatures are one way to start.

SAST iAQ Pro™, which monitors over 10 IAQ and HVAC data points, including temperature, is delivered through a simple yet powerful combination of technologies and approaches. Designed for clients who are serious about the impact their buildings might be having on the health of their occupants, this solution provides proof – to stakeholders, employees,  visitors, and anyone who walks through the door.