At the extreme end of the scale, prolonged exposure to particularly poor IAQ can lead to diseases affecting everything from the lungs to the brain.
What Causes Indoor Air Pollution
A building’s IAQ is affected by the air drawn in from the outside environment - either through natural or mechanical ventilation as well as structural gaps - and air pollutants created inside the building.
These indoor air pollutants include:
Particulate matter - solid or liquid particles present in the air like dust, mould spores and bacteria.
Carbon dioxide - a product of breathing, carbon dioxide is a naturally present gas that can build up in poorly ventilated spaces.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) - these are indoor air pollutants produced by things like cleaning supplies, paints, printers, photocopiers, carpets and furniture.
Excess humidity - this typically results from poorly regulated temperature and a lack of ventilation, causing damp and condensation.
Mould - excess humidity can also lead to mould, as can an accumulation of dirt. Mould itself is an indoor air pollutant that can significantly impact allergies and respiratory conditions.
How to Improve Air Quality in the Workplace
To improve indoor air quality in the workplace, consider adopting the following practices as part of your wider building maintenance process.
1. Properly Regulate Temperature
Achieving an ideal temperature isn’t just about providing comfort. It also impacts humidity which, as we’ve seen, is a source of indoor air pollution. Yet because of changes in room occupancy and the weather, temperature can be highly volatile.
A well designed air conditioning system that is properly controlled and maintained can meet this challenge, helping to regulate temperature (and humidity) regardless of influencing conditions.
2. Improve Ventilation