Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a measure of how good occupiers find the air in their building. It’s a complex subject, and we would recommend the web sites listed below as providing a good, and independent, overview of the subject. IAQ is an increasing issue with new homes, as we are now able to construct air tight buildings which stop air coming from the outside. This is important from an energy efficiency perspective as it means that less energy is consumed. What we have not yet come to terms with is that in practice in new homes many ventilation systems fail to deliver sufficient fresh air. As such we are building tight, but not ventilating right.
This brings a risk of indoor pollutants, including mould spores, volatile organics and airborne bacteria, which can jeopardise health. Government regulations have exacerbated the situation by requiring air pressurisation tests to ensure air tightness, whilst not requiring commensurate action to check ventilation system effectiveness.
The risk of a building overheating is becoming more severe with the effects of climate change, and so-called “heat island” effects found it cities. Poor designs and failures during construction, can, together with occupancy effects, result in an increase risk that a building will overheat.
Indoor Air Quality
CIBSE TM59 www.cibse.org