Understandably, the emphasis on indoor air quality is higher than ever, with increasing pressure to ensure our buildings are well-ventilated and their occupants are provided with a clean and healthy indoor environment to enjoy. With all of us spending more time indoors, how can we ensure our health is considered, while also balancing the need for energy efficiency?  

With people spending around 90% of their time indoors and the quality of our environment going hand-in-hand with public health, the need to provide healthy indoor environments has never been so pressing.

Indoor air quality

Indoor air quality is something that can be affected by numerous complex and interlinked factors, arising from both outside and inside air pollution sources. Exterior sources can include road traffic, industrial processes, waste incineration and construction and demolition sites. Pollution includes particulate matter, NO2, CO and pollen, all of which can be brought into a building through natural or mechanical ventilation and via infiltration through the building fabric.

But there are also pollution sources inside a building, including Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) given off by wall and floor coverings, furniture and appliances as they age and degrade; dust, damp and mould; emissions from office equipment and industrial machinery; and, of course, occupants themselves, who breathe out CO2 and can spread colds and viruses.

Effective ventilation

Ensuring a plentiful supply of fresh air may seem the obvious solution to poor air quality but this must be viewed with the context of overall building efficiency. In modern building design, the pressure to reduce running costs and energy consumption, combined with the targets set by BREEAM and LEED assessments, mean the emphasis often falls on delivering high levels of energy efficiency through insulation and strict air-tightness. Yet, unless sufficient ventilation is included in the building design, this can lead to low oxygen levels, increased potential for allergies and odours and the risk of condensation build up.

Opening a window may too seem like a solution to this ventilation dilemma. However, this could in fact do more harm than good, especially for buildings within urban areas where levels of outdoor air pollution may be high.

Achieving good levels of indoor air quality is in many ways a balancing act; requiring a careful balance to be struck between energy conservation, temperature, humidity and fresh air supply, while also minimising the ingress of external pollution sources. Through careful design and consideration, it is possible to achieve both effective ventilation and excellent energy efficiency performance – and a number of HVAC solutions are available with energy conservation features, heat recovery ventilation and variable refrigerant volume (VRV) air conditioning systems.

Solutions for the future

At Daikin, we continue to push the boundaries in order to create more sustainable solutions, simplify installation, enhance performance in use, and reduce our environmental footprint. In the spirit of the Paris Agreement, we aim to be CO₂ neutral by 2050.

Innovative product design is a key step to achieving this, with our new VRV 5 S-series forming the latest evolution in our portfolio development. A completely new unit developed specifically for R-32 refrigerant and covering all mini VRV applications, it’s our most sustainable solution yet.

The use of R-32 refrigerant allows the VRV 5 series to offer superior environmental performance throughout the lifetime of the product, as it reduces GWP by 71% compared to R-410A refrigerant and lowers the refrigerant charge by 10%. What’s more, the VRV 5 series offers market-leading real life seasonal efficiency.

It is fully optimized for installation in rooms as small as 10m2, with factory-mounted refrigerant response measures meaning no additional leak detection is required. Meanwhile, installation and handling are simplified thanks to the ergonomic design, which features a wider access area so components can be reached easily within the low-profile single fan casing.

In use, it provides best-in-class design versatility with five sound pressure levels down to 39 db(A) and automatic ESP setting up to 45 Pa allowing for ductwork, while the intuitive online and voice controls, along with a new 10 class indoor unit for small rooms, offer maximum user comfort.

For more information on the VRV 5 series, please visit If you want to find out more about the factors that influence our internal environments and the solutions that can achieve the required balance, download our white paper ‘Delivering Good Indoor Air Quality’:

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