A new beginners guide to improving indoor air quality (IAQ) has gained the support of one of the UK’s most prominent health campaigners
The guide was created by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and its affiliate member Mitsubishi Electric. It is also being supported by Global Action Plan, the organisers of National Clean Air Day.
An introduction from Kissi-Debrah to the Guide, which includes a wealth of information provided by BESA’s Health & Wellbeing in Buildings group, explains how the ventilation and building services industry is able to turn buildings into ‘safe havens’ to protect occupants – particularly children who face the greatest risks – from the worst impacts of contaminated air.
The Beginner’s Guide to Indoor Air Quality offers advice and guidance for employees and visitors to commercial buildings and, with so many people now working from home, includes some easy tips for optimising IAQ in residential settings.
The guide is being promoted to the widest possible audience including consumers, commercial building managers, school leadership teams and policy makers.
The controversy and debate around air quality has never been more heated and this has thrust the broad topic of building ventilation and air cleaning into the limelight – particularly as more people start to consider returning to offices, schools, and public buildings in the wake of the pandemic.
It is being promoted to the widest possible audience including consumers, commercial building managers, school
The guide explains how good ventilation and air filtration along with accurate measuring and monitoring of particulate matter are the keys to an effective IAQ strategy.
It also includes information about the main sources of air pollution and the contaminants that affect indoor spaces and explains why IAQ is often many times more damaging to human health than outdoor pollution.
Public Health England estimates the annual deal toll in the UK from air pollution at between 24,000 and 36,000 with associated healthcare costs between £8bn and £20bn.
Safer environments and healthier for us and our children
Kissi-Debrah, who is also honorary president of the BESA group, said: “This guide is an invaluable non-technical introduction to the issue of IAQ and explains how we can make our own indoor environments safer and healthier for us and our children.”
Larissa Lockwood, director of clean air at Global Action Plan, said: “Air pollution isn’t just about the outdoor world. There are many sources of indoor air pollution that can harm health as well.
“Studies have found that as much as 90% of the day is spent inside so it is important to consider how to create clean air indoors as well.
Nathan Wood, chair of the BESA Health & Wellbeing in Buildings group, commented: “This guide will explain why the air you breathe inside buildings is often worse than the polluted air outside.
“It also points out how much more control we have over our indoor conditions and how we can turn our homes, offices and leisure places into ‘safe havens’ from polluted and contaminated air.
“This is particularly important now as we seek to give people confidence that they can safely return to offices and other communal buildings.”
Mitsubishi Electric’s head of sustainability, Martin Fahey, added: “Given the hazards in outdoor air, it’s important that we can regard our homes and workplaces as safe areas that can achieve higher levels of indoor air quality with the right approach.
“The technologies and expertise already exist to help, so we now need a concerted campaign to highlight the issue.
“We believe everyone has the right to breathe clean air, and that can only be achieved if we work together to raise awareness of the risks of pollution and to drive change in our legislation and behaviours.”