achoo! ALLERGY Goes Green & Ultra Clean
ATLANTA, GA (October 11, 2007) - AchooAllergy.com, Inc., recently moved into a new headquarters located in Atlanta, GA, and CEO P. Cade McDonald decided to invest additional money to make the building allergy-proof and environmentally friendly.
"We looked for a new location for over three years and finally found an old building in a very desirable, up-and-coming industrial district that is turning residential and retail," says McDonald. "Since nearly all of our customers and many employees have environmental allergies, we decided to allergy-proof the whole building."
"At its core, the building is brick, concrete and steel built to withstand anything," McDonald says. "New buildings are not built like this. Over the years, people added walls and in essence thoroughly chopped it up. We elected to demolish the walls, open the space up and turn it into a loft."
"We sandblasted the inside and outside of the building, which was a devastating mess," continues McDonald. "The abrasive cleaning removed 40 years of paint, residue, dust and soot. After the sandblasting, we sealed the brick, inside and out, with a low-VOC acrylic sealer."
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are chemicals emitted by many plastics, adhesives and building materials. High levels of VOCs may trigger allergies or cause environmental illness.
"Brick is very dusty," continues McDonald. "I didn't realize this until recently. I used to live in a brick loft, and while it was cleaned often, it was always dusty. I never knew why. It's the brick. That's why the brick in our offices has been sealed, which has a dual effect: First, it won't collect or emit dust, and second, it makes the brick very aesthetically appealing."
To complete the allergy-proofing of the office space, each employee's work station has its own air purifier, and all vacuuming is done with a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner. HEPA filters are necessary to trap microscopic allergens like dust, mold, pollen and animal dander.
In allergy-proofing the building, McDonald also wanted to preserve and highlight the history of the 50-year-old building.
"We chose to work with the existing concrete floors rather than cover them up with carpet or wood," McDonald says. "The concrete had considerable history, so we elected to grind it and clean it. Like brick, concrete is very dusty, so we sealed it with a low-VOC epoxy to enhance its appearance, protect it and strengthen it. The concrete floors tell the story of the building. What was once an industrial warehouse with forklifts running around is now a pristine office and retail space.
"Next we replaced all the HVAC systems in the building. We elected to spend more money up front and go with higher efficiency SEER units to conserve energy. All filters are changed monthly, and we use AllergyZone furnace filters to eliminate allergens."
Even the warehouse was designed with allergies in mind.
"In our warehouse we elected to paint the walls, ceiling and even the floor with light-reflective white coatings to save on energy costs and help us keep a cleaner storage environment," says McDonald. "White floors require weekly thorough cleanings, giving dust and dirt no place to hide. The concrete block walls in our warehouse were also sealed with a special coating to dust-proof and water-proof them."
"We use a pallet racking system with waterfall wire decking," McDonald continues. "Wire decking does not collect dust, lets light fall through, and keeps air circulating through our inventory. It helps with the overall cleanliness of the warehouse."
McDonald also made efforts to make his new company headquarters environmentally friendly.
"There appears to be a relationship between the increase in environmental pollution and the increase in allergies over the past several decades," points out McDonald, "so we take environmental responsibility seriously. I am proud to say that we do not use one incandescent light bulb in the entire building. Fluorescent bulbs are 75% more efficient than incandescent bulbs. We save energy, and it's environmentally friendly. We also use natural light as much as possible in lighting our workspaces."
The allergy relief retail company also recycles aluminum, plastic and paper and has replaced paper towels with high-efficiency hand dryers in the restrooms.
Despite all of the building's allergy-proof and environmentally friendly features, McDonald says his favorite thing about his company's new headquarters is the fact that "our company owns this building."
"We take great pride in coming to work here," he says. "It helps our business in countless ways."
AchooAllergy.com specializes in the sale of environmental control products for people with allergies, asthma and chemical sensitivities. Their new headquarters and product showroom is located at 3411 Pierce Drive, Atlanta, GA, 30341. Visit them online at www.achooallergy.com or call 1-800-339-7123 for more information.
Before & After Photos