Building managers are set to come under increasing pressure to improve air conditioning and ventilation systems, as pollution levels cause serious health and productivity problems.
Simon Birkett, founder of Clean Air in London, suggested better indoor air quality could compensate for worsening pollution, with buildings becoming spaces safe from harmful particles.
For this ambition to be realised, building owners need to recognise the importance of installing and maintaining air conditioning and ventilation systems that provide high quality filtration. Mr Birkett noted European citizens typically spend 90% of their time indoors, meaning they can be protected from 90% of pollutants for 90% of the time with good air filters.
“Building owners should consider the total cost of a measure - not just the impact on energy use,” he said. “They need to consider the overall impact on building occupants. The cost of filtration is tiny compared to the health and productivity of people.”
The Building Engineering Services Association has started work on an Indoor Air Quality Standard, with the aim of developing best practice guidance that could become a legal requirement.
And with poor air quality responsible for thousands of premature deaths in London alone each year, the organisation hopes air quality will soon receive the recognition it deserves in building design and facilities management.