Thought Leadership

The Importance of Indoor Air Quality

The UN Environment Program and WHO identified air pollution as one of the biggest environmental threats to health. Worldwide air pollution causes 1 in 9 deaths and in England, contributes with up to 36,000 deaths a year linked to long-term exposure. Different agencies and research institutions have identified that people spend 90% or more of their time indoors, pre- COVID-19. 

In the UK, the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill is under discussion in the House of Lords to become law. Once approved, it will provide the right to communities to take legal action and defend their right to clean air indoors and outdoors.

These developments are bound to make air quality assessments and mitigation plans more relevant than ever. 

ceiling air vent

New Indoor Air Quality Guidance

The Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) has released new guidance to assess indoor air quality. This guidance marks the beginning of a new era of assessment in the UK for new and existing buildings, including residential, educational, commercial/retail premises, healthcare, community facilities, and new facilities on or near brownfield sites. Ingress of pollutants with the potential to be toxic can be associated with natural sources, combustion sources, vehicle exhaust, and sites on contaminated land. These can impact air quality within existing premises. 

The new IAQM guidance explains how to determine the need for an indoor air quality assessment and the stages to conduct a simple approach (identifying sources, pathways, and affected receptors) and/or a detailed one, including monitoring and modeling (computational fluid dynamics (CFD)). Both simple and detailed assessments of indoor air quality can assist in generating guidance on the level of mitigation and improvement required. The IAQM guidance shows how indoor air quality is expected to be assessed in new and existing properties with the overall aim to protect residents. 

industrial ceiling air tubing and vent

Moving Forward

Given the new guidelines and increased priority on indoor air quality in the UK that communicate the importance of keeping individuals safe in a post-pandemic world, assessments by qualified parties are more important than ever. Engaging a deeply consultative partner with experience in indoor and occupational air quality analyses and mitigation in a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing facilities, residential buildings, and commercial premises, is a crucial step.

Visit our Air Quality page to discover the details on RWDI’s capability and experience in this field. 

This story was originally published by Southdowns, leading acoustical and air quality consultants. Southdowns Environmental Consultants are part of the RWDI Group of Companies.