How to achieve efficient indoor air quality through building climate control
As we emerge into a post pandemic world, awareness about public health and the environmental challenges we face has never been greater.
It is well documented that the air that we breathe can have a significant impact on our physical and mental health.
According to the World Health Organisation, air pollution from both outdoor and indoor sources represents the single largest environmental risk to health globally and causes seven million deaths a year, while Public Health England estimates poor air quality causes up to 36,000 deaths a year in England.
As well as contributing to respiratory illnesses, lung cancer, heart disease, depression and dementia, studies have also shown that poor air quality can impact patient outcomes in healthcare buildings, learning and development in education establishments and concentration and productivity levels in offices.
These shocking statistics, combined with the fact that on average people spend 90 per cent of their time indoors, demonstrate why indoor air quality is now a primary concern and it is affected by a number of complex factors; with both indoor and outdoor sources of pollution potentially having an impact.
Outdoor sources include road traffic, industrial processes, waste incineration and construction and demolition activities in the form of particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and pollen, all of which can be drawn into a building through natural or mechanical ventilation and via infiltration through the building fabric.
Sources of pollution from inside a building include airborne dust, damp and mould, emissions from office equipment and industrial machinery and Volatile Organic Compounds, which are given off by wall and floor coverings, furniture and appliances. The building occupants themselves are also a source of air pollution by breathing out CO2 and spreading colds and viruses.
Replacing stale and polluted air with an adequate supply of fresh air is the fundamental solution to poor indoor air quality. Opening windows has traditionally been the solution, however in urban areas this can introduce outdoor pollution and may not be practical.
In essence, ventilation systems remove stale air from within inside spaces – designed to extract water vapour, airborne pollutants and odours, control humidity and maintain good indoor air quality. For example, air purifiers can optimise indoor air quality for both residential and professional settings. Designed to deal with harmful particles, as well as dust, odours, bacteria, pet hairs, moulds, pollen and mites and other allergens, effective air purifiers leave the indoor air clean and healthy.
Ventilation must also be considered in the context of building efficiency. With increased pressure to reduce energy consumption, buildings must deliver a high level of energy efficiency. This is most often achieved through insulation and strict air-tightness standards, however this can result in low oxygen levels, increased moisture and the accumulation of pollutants. With careful consideration and design it is possible to achieve both effective ventilation and excellent building performance that can deliver the sustainability that modern projects require.
Indoor air quality is essential for the health and wellbeing of building occupants. Knowing this, it is imperative that building services engineers, facilities managers and specifiers consider indoor air quality as a chief concern and partnering with a reputable manufacturer like Daikin can help aid the specification process. Through 90 years of precision and innovation, Daikin Group has built a worldwide reputation for delivering signature technology with cost-effective solutions to mitigate the harmful effects of poor air quality and shape the future of all heating, cooling, ventilation and refrigeration systems. Every product has been designed to deliver specific advantages including base ventilation, air processing and humidity control to deliver a fresh, healthy and comfortable environment.
We’ve created a ‘Delivering Good Indoor Air Quality’ whitepaper explaining the factors that influence our internal environments and the solutions that can achieve the required balance, as well as best-practice guidance regarding coronavirus. It is available from: www.daikin.co.uk/indoorairquality.
With the intention of delving deeper into the indoor air quality issue, we are hosting a webinar on Tuesday 9thNovember. To find out more information, and to sign up to the webinar, please visit: www.daikin.co.uk/IAQwebinar