Air filtration in public buildings in London – Many local authorities are in the dark when it comes to knowing if their buildings use regularly maintained air filters that comply withindoor air quality standard EN 13779, particularly schools, according to a new report from Clean Air in London (CAL).
In the report, the cross-party campaigning group claims that indoor air quality (IAQ) can often be worse than outdoor (or ambient) air quality, due to the many sources of pollution that exist within buildings and homes. CAL is therefore campaigning to build public understanding of indoor air quality, initially in London, with support from us here at Camfil Farr.
The report examines the issue of air filtration in public buildings in London. It includes the results of an Environment Information Regulations request to local, regional and central Government bodies asking ‘which buildings owned, occupied or managed by the Local Authority use regularly maintained air filters that comply fully with European guideline EN 13779 e.g. offices and schools’. The responses received are analysed and ranked.
The Greater London Authority Group (GLA Group) demonstrated detailed knowledge of its buildings. However, CAL was surprised to discover that only eight of 15 buildings in Transport for London’s ‘Head Office Portfolio’ were due to comply fully with EN 13779 by April 2012 with seven others in 2012/2013 and many more having no expected compliance date. CAL has also been surprised to discover a big difference among the 33 local authorities in London in terms of how much they know about indoor air quality standards in their buildings. Some have been able to provide quite detailed information on compliant buildings whilst others seem to have little idea of which buildings comply with EN 13779. Many local authorities have told CAL they do not know about compliance with EN 13779 in some or all of their schools because they are independently managed.
Meet Stan – the standard man. He’s got it into his head that standard is something good. That everything better than standard quality is superfluous. For instance, if he was to buy air filters, he’d choose one of standard quality. He’d point to the A classification and think the 35% cleaning efficiency for an F7 filter was good enough.
His lungs would not think the same. Because if you realise the importance of good health, you understand that air that is only 35% cleaned isn’t good enough. Several of our filters achieve over 50% cleaning efficiency. Much better than standard, but Stan ignores that of course. Hopefully, you think differently.
Article by Peter Dyment, Energy Consultant, Camfil Farr
I am like almost any other person on this planet. My aim is to live as long as possible and keep myself in good health for as long as I can. So it came as a bit of a shock to discover that I could lose years off my life and many more years of healthy living and a good quality of life. How can this be? After all I live in modern industrial country with a high standard of living and medical care.
Modern living in cities and industrial areas turns out to be the source of the problem. Air pollution is not just on the outside, but also indoors where we work and at home. So what can I do to stop my health being damaged?
First of all I need to understand the problem. This is the gist of it. We all have to breathe air to live. The air we breathe is mainly indoor air because we spend up to 90% of our time inside buildings according to recent studies. The air inside buildings where we live and work should be clean and free from air pollution but often it turns out to carry a toxic mixture of traffic exhaust gases and fine dust particles coming in from the outside and from the inside bacteria with moulds, fungal spores and other small organic bodies and parasites.