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Interview: The added value of air cleaners for a healthy indoor climate

De meerwaarde van luchtreinigers voor een gezond binnenklimaat

Interview of our client Ricoh with Facto (online platform), publication 27 September 2021

In the business service center of Ricoh Nederland, employees suffered from dry eyes, fatigue and concentration problems. Where did those complaints come from? Bert Streppel, senior facility management employee, made a surprising discovery. “I still remember when my eyes opened.”

This global ‘digital services company’ is active in ninety countries and has approximately six hundred employees in the Netherlands, most of whom work at its head office in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. There are 42 workplaces in the business service center of 12 by 35 meters. “Nowhere in our building is the number of square meters per employee as low as here,” Streppel explains. “We received no complaints from other areas in the building. So something had to be done about the indoor climate here, that was clear.”

Everything within the standards

The investigation into the origin of the complaints initially focused on the known parameters: temperature, humidity and CO2 content. “We mainly thought of the latter, because our office is located on the edge of the city center. In an urban environment, the CO2 content is, in principle, higher than in rural areas. But that turned out not to be the cause, just like temperature and humidity. Everything was within standards. Then we came up with the idea to turn to Euromate, which we knew from our previous office.”

Many more possible causes

Streppel and his colleagues learned from the Breda company – a specialist in air cleaners for a healthy indoor climate in companies – that not only do the known parameters influence the well-being of the employees, but also the particulate matter, virus particles and bacteria that float in the air. “Then my eyes were opened, in the sense that perhaps we hadn’t examined enough parameters. That there are many more possibilities that can cause complaints. Our search area for the origin of those complaints had therefore been too small.”

I had to rethink the idea that air cleaners would be the solution to our problem

Pallette of factors

That insight did not immediately mean that Streppel was convinced that cleaning the air could solve a multitude of complaints. “Of course it is always difficult and very personal. If an employee has slept poorly and is unable to rest at home, your well-being will be bad before you even get to the office. It is therefore always complicated to relate the well-being of an employee to his working environment. As a facility department, we have to take into account a range of factors. I had to reconsider the idea that air cleaners would be the solution to our problem.”

Air cleaners based on no cure, no pay

The Euromate consultant’s proposal was to place four air cleaners in the room to complement the existing central air handling unit. An investment of more than 18,000 euros. “When purchasing this, we explicitly agreed: no cure, no pay. If it doesn’t help, come get them again. But an hour after we switched on the devices, we could already hear employees shouting: ‘I notice the difference!’ That was two and a half to three years ago and our colleagues are still very satisfied. It looks like the egg of Columbus doesn’t it, too good to be true. But hey, if something works, it works. I think employees also appreciate that their complaints have been taken seriously.”

Safely back to the office

Despite all the measures the company has taken pre-corona, a maximum occupation of the 42 workplaces in the business service center is not yet an option for the time being. In mid-September (2021), the office in ‘s-Hertogenbosch has taken out half of all offices. “We have also furnished our entire building with mandatory walking directions,” Streppel adds. “But, even more importantly, our management has been following government policy for a year and a half to still work from home as much as possible. That is why we still have a low occupancy rate in our entire building, including in the business service center. We can guarantee that people can always keep a sufficient distance. I think and hope that our colleagues will soon have the confidence that, thanks to all the measures taken, they will be able to go to the office safely. The purchased air cleaners are a nice addition to this.”

How healthy is the air at your office? You can contact us via if you would like to get more information about our air cleaners.

Picture: Bert Streppel, Senior Employee Facility Management at Ricoh

Euromate fijnstof binnenklimaat Ricoh

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