Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and it directly relates to the health and comfort of a building’s occupants.
IAQ can be affected by mould, bacteria and gases including carbon monoxide or any mass or energy stressor that can induce adverse health conditions. Indoor air is becoming an increasingly more concerning health hazard than outdoor air. Poor IAQ is a trigger for allergies including asthma and many other medical conditions.
Determination of IAQ involves the collection of air samples, monitoring human exposure to pollutants, collection of samples on building surfaces and computer modeling of air flow inside buildings. There are many IAQ filtration units that remove particles as fine as cigarette smoke and flour. There are also a range of products available to help control the buildup of moulds and other bacteria commonly found in air conditioning systems.
Air filters are used to reduce the amount of dust that reaches the wet coils. Dust can serve as food to grow molds on the wet coils and ducts and can reduce the efficiency of the coils.
Commercial buildings, and sometimes residential, are often kept under slightly-positive air pressure relative to the outdoors to reduce infiltration. Limiting infiltration helps with moisture management and humidity control.
Using ventilation to dilute contaminants, filtration, and source control are the primary methods for improving indoor air quality in most buildings.
Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a combination of ailments (a syndrome) associated with an individual’s place of work (office building) or residence. A 1984 World Health Organization report into the syndrome suggested up to 30% of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be linked to symptoms of SBS. Most of the sick building syndrome is related to poor indoor air quality.