In a recent article published by REHVA, the Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations, Peter Dyment, the Building IAQ and HVAC energy consultant for Camfil discusses Clean Indoor Air for health and sustainability.
REHVA, are dedicated to the improvement of health, comfort and energy efficiency in all buildings and communities.
Peter discusses how there is an overriding need for people to breathe clean healthy air in both residential and commercial buildings today. Many buildings may be located in polluted industrial city locations or maybe in relatively clean rural settings.
There is an increasing trend for many people to work from remote locations or from their place of residence.
Many designers and engineers advocate use of ventilation methods that utilise naturally occurring air currents in buildings. Broadly these design solutions can be grouped under the name of passive ventilation. The great attraction of these types of solution is that they have low levels of energy use but the main drawback is that they are usually unsuitable for use in locations with high levels of air pollution.
These are air filter units that combine High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration to remove PM2.5 and NO2 as well other commonly experienced pollutants. These air purifiers or air cleaners if they remove just particles are used in residential situations or healthcare applications. Removing aspergillus spores to protect vulnerable children and pollen removal to prevent asthma attacks are two recent needs that have been met.
Using a standalone air purification unit that delivers clean air at point of need if often a quicker more effective IAQ solution than trying to get a large unmanageable centralised HVAC system to service a small area in a large building with air. It can also save energy if the main HVAC system can be stepped down.
Why is improving Indoor air quality so important?
- Better IAQ increases productivity in offices by 10% thanks to higher air supply rate and appropriate filter maintenance.
- Polaroid managed to reduce sick leave by 35% and save 400$ per employee by upgrading buildings HVAC Systems, equalling close to 1,5Million $ total savings per year.
- According to an Australian study, improving IAQ reduces sick leave rate by 39% and costs by 44%.
- Better IAQ improves schoolchildren reading test results by 13%
- Improving by 1% productivity with better ventilation system can save between 20 to 60€/m2, with benefit to cost ratio of 9.4 (productivity/HVAC investment, Energy and maintenance cost). Payback time was less than 2 years
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How to improve IAQ ?
1. Indoor pollutants source emission control
2. Appropriate ventilation system design and improvement
3. Air filter selection at air inlets according to EN13779
4. Additional molecular filtration or air cleaning for specific locations and pollutions Continue reading