Mitsubishi Electric

Behind closed doors – the importance of clean indoor air: a Mitsubishi Electric article

  • 20 Dec 2019

Whilst the focus is on outdoor air quality, we mustn’t forget the air indoors too, says Alan King, Managing Director of Syntegra, in this article for Mitsubishi Electric.

“We are rightly seeing increasing news reports on the poor quality of air in our towns and cities with much being made about the suggestion that all diesel and petrol cars should disappear from our roads by 2040.

Realistically, that’s just one generation away and what a great gift cleaner air in our streets and open spaces would be for our grandchildren.

And when we see headlines such as this in the Guardian stating ‘hitting clean air targets could stop 67,000 child asthma cases a year’, it is clear that something must be done to improve outdoor air quality.

But while such moves to improve outdoor air quality are to be applauded, we mustn’t forget the air we breathe inside our built environment as well.

Sick buildings

As concerns over sick building syndrome appear to be on the rise, it is only right that equal attention is paid to the quality of air our children breathe in their schools, our loved ones rely on in hospitals and we all enjoy in our workplaces – after all, a recent survey showed we spend an average of 11.5 years of our life at work.

Indoor air quality can be affected by gases (including carbon monoxide, radon, volatile organic compounds), particulates, microbial contaminants (mould, bacteria), or any mass or energy that can result in poor air quality and could induce adverse health conditions in occupants.

Department of Education figures show children were absent for 54.5million schooldays in England in 2014/15, mainly due to sicknesses such as colds and sore throats and schools paid out £1.26 billion to hire supply staff to cover staff sickness.

Air purification systems are available and should be considered to counter the atmosphere which is a breeding ground for germs.

Impact Assessments

Many local authorities in the UK now require an air quality assessment as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for new developments, to protect residents and the environment from poor air quality.

We hope to see that number increase as the focus shifts indoors now the big debate about outdoor air quality appears to have gathered momentum and be firmly on the public’s green agenda.

Indoor Air Quality Plans (IAQ) are becoming more popular with new builds but we need to get word out there to help overhaul existing stock to keep ahead of this particular game.

Air quality management

The Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) has also broadened its scope to cover issues related to indoor air quality.

Increasing numbers of enquiries about indoor air quality concerns to the industry body whose agenda has historically been focused on improving ambient air quality prompted a membership survey about the change of remit.

Until now, there has been no representative body for specialists working on resolving indoor air quality concerns.

The IAQM members voted strongly in favour of the move and a spokesman said: ‘There was also strong consensus that the IAQM should judge indoor air quality on an equal basis to other air quality experience.’

A subgroup of the institute will now be formed to inform on the development of the sector and how best to integrate indoor air quality specialists into the organisation’s membership.

“Many building/sector types need to address design issues e.g. Hotels with the means of fresh air delivery to guestrooms, accessibility of filters, and adequate separation  between fresh air intake and discharge louvres,” commented Dave Thomas, Director of Building Services Group Ltd.

Assessment and compliance

Here at The Syntegra Group, we offer a comprehensive range of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) assessment services, including the provision of BREEAM compliant Indoor Air Quality plans to conform to the Hea 02 Indoor Air Quality guidelines.

We also offer LEED EQc3.1 IAQ compliant assessment and plans and help organisations achieve their best possible SKA rating when they conduct fit-outs of their premises, ensuring they comply with a broad range of environmental criteria.

We aim to be at the forefront of tackling the issue that still lurks behind closed doors and open up a world of possibilities for happier, healthier generations to come.”

Mitsubishi Electric Living Systems,
Travellers Lane,
AL10 8XB
United Kingdom

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