Indoor air quality, sometimes abbreviated to IAQ refers quite simply to the quality of the air present inside a building. Indoor air quality is often used as a measure to evaluate potential Sick Building Syndrome, the suitability of indoor environments and how this impacts on the health, comfort, well-being and productivity of building occupants.
The quality of the air inside a building can be affected by a wide range of unwanted contaminants. These can include microbial contaminants, excess moisture, fine particulates, household products and gases. Other factors including temperature, humidity and internal air flows are also important.
What is Sick Building Syndrome?
It has been proven that illnesses can be caused by poor indoor air quality.
Many businesses have suffered poor attendance and low productivity in buildings where the air quality has been proven to be poor.
When the air quality is particularly low it can be associated with so-called Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).
Sick Building Syndrome is the term commonly used when occupants of a building appear to suffer poor health linked to time spent in a building, but where no specific cause can be identified.
Indoor Air Quality & Pollutants
The air inside any building is likely to be contaminated with a number of pollutants.
These might include microbial contaminants such as bacteria and moulds, pollen, excess moisture, fine particulates including carpet fibres, household products and pesticides; and gases including carbon monoxide, radon and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Such contaminants can have an adverse effect on the health of the occupants of a building and so should be eliminated or reduced where possible.
It is important to note that it is not merely a case of the air being polluted by things inside the building either.
There could also be airborne pollutants that are brought into the building in some way, either through open windows, via mechanical ventilation or air conditioning systems.
Indoor Air Quality Testing
The presence of assorted contaminants and pollutants in the air inside a building means it is a good idea to carry out indoor air quality testing to see what is there, how it impacts the occupants of the building and then determine what can be done about it.
Specialist companies like WTS exist that can do this, more on our services here… testing →
Full indoor air quality testing and evaluation would normally involve the collection and evaluation of air samples, monitoring occupant exposure to pollutants, swabbing and evaluation of samples from internal surfaces, and computer modelling of the air flow inside a building.
Once the air quality assessment is complete it is then possible to identify ways to cleanse the air more readily, reduce pollutant levels and improve the overall quality of the working environment for all occupants.
Reducing Sick Building Syndrome & Improving Working Environments
In improving indoor air quality the health of all those who are using the building can be improved as well.
Exposure to potentially-harmful substances can be reduced significantly in all buildings, whether they are old or new.
New and refurbished buildings can be particularly prone to having a collection of pollutants in the air often from the diverse materials used during the construction process.
World Class Indoor Air Quality Testing & Assessment Solutions
WTS are leading independent UK environmental specialists offering a full range of solutions involving the investigation and evaluation of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) including:
- Indoor air quality testing and monitoring.
- Microbiological analysis.
- Gas analysis and particle counts.
- Review of physical environmental parameters.
- Air flow investigations.
With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained engineers, in-field service specialists and technical experts we can offer indoor air quality and environmental monitoring solutions across the whole of the UK.
Contact us today to learn how our air quality solutions can help improve workplace health and well-being, employee comfort, attendance and productivity… contact us →
More information about indoor air quality testing and Sick Building Syndrome… here →