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Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Control Research Paper


Abstract

In the present city life, the quality of air in the indoor setting has a substantial effect on individual’s fitness and well-being. Conventionally, determinations to manage air quality in the indoor setting have focused on the deterrence of work-related illnesses in industrial constructions. The connection between precise air contaminants like as asbestos and the occurrence of specific illnesses is well documented. In the non- manufacturing interior setting, the health hazards related to some definite contaminants like formaldehyde and smoking are also established. The article below focuses on indoor air quality control.

Introduction

Unlike in the past centuries, most people spend most of their time in the indoor environment (Pepper & Carrington, 2009). In this respect, poor indoor air quality may cause uneasiness, health problems, nonattendance, and reduced output. On the other hand, enhanced indoor air quality protects the health of the residents and adds value to their well-being. Compared with out-of-door air pollution, indoor air pollution has not received the much-needed attention. However, with increased urbanization the issue has now become a subject of growing public distress. The issue has been provoked partially by the appearance of new indoor air contaminants and the separation of the indoor setting from the usual outdoor setting in well-closed office structures.

With respect to an administrative perspective, indoor air quality is a multifaceted issue. The available options to be taken into deliberation and approaches necessary to uphold decent indoor air quality traverse a range of disciplines. The disciplines include community health, work-related hygiene, work practice, engineering principles, and government departmental accountabilities. Air circulation systems and a number of other aspects influencing indoor air quality are now subject to regulation. Equally, indoor air quality is focused on community health requirements of guidelines and decrees covering specific kinds of public structures. In the UAE, the necessary authorities have introduced statutes to address the subject (Pepper & Carrington, 2009). Nevertheless, it is widely accepted that self-regulation is the best and operative approach of addressing the above issues given the intricacies and reservations that surround the legislations.

Background

The use of the word IAQ is comparatively new (Parker, 2009). However, it should be noted that the issues linked with deprived indoor air quality have been witnessed from time immemorial. It is estimated that the issue arose when human beings began constructing accommodations to guard themselves from wild animals and severe climate conditions. Unlike it is today, in the past funds and considerations have been centered on managing air pollution in the outdoor setting. The expansion of investigation into indoor air quality only arose in the 1970s. The investigations were prompted by the necessity to comprehend and avert work-related illnesses in the industrial workstations. Ever since then, an increasing communal concern has been witnessed with respect to the effect of indoor contaminants in non-industrial constructions. The concern follows an increase in public exposure to indoor air in workplaces and alterations in construction expertise and design. In non-industrial buildings, the possible causes of such air contaminants have increased. Constituents and entities that may release air-polluting matters include:

  • Contemporary office tools like computers, high-capacity photocopiers, laser printers, photographic processing kit
  • Synthetic building materials like formaldehyde emitting particle boards, glues using organic solvents
  • A wide range of plastic constituents
  • Chemical based cleaning agents
  • Sources outdoor like vehicle exhausts and chimneys

Nevertheless, alterations in construction design, tools, and office disposable only offer a part of the clarification why workplace air quality has turned into such an important public subject. The additional clarification is the growth of office working in the UAE. Because of progress in the service segment, a bulk of our labor force is currently working indoors. The above development and the huge amount of time that individuals consume indoors have augmented the societal and economic significance of decent indoor air quality.

Inquiries have indicated that if deprived indoor setting jeopardizes fitness and comfort of employees their output will also be compromised (Nathanson, 2013). Increased nonattendance, more sick leaves being booked, poor employee efficiency, and increased turnover will be common in an office with the deprived indoor setting. It is projected that corporations lose 13 to 16 minutes for each worker everyday owing to deprived indoor air quality (Nathanson, 2013). Other than expenses to individual companies through misplaced output, deprived indoor air quality causes needless expenses on the society through direct health expenditures.

A different research averaged that the entire financial expenses, comprising of direct health expenditures and output losses owing to major diseases, of deprived indoor air quality ranges from $ 4.70 to 5.40 billion yearly (Nathanson, 2013). The above is likely to be an underrated value because the estimate does not factor in the price of any harm to construction resources and tools owing to poor air quality. For the property executives, enlarged energy expenditures from indoor air quality enhancements are counterbalanced by less nonattendance and enhanced output. The increased cost is also compensated by less liability contact and enhanced competitiveness in the property market. As indicated in the appendix, below is a graph of cities with very bad and very good indoor air quality.

PM10 levels for particular cities by region in the years 2013‐2014.
Fig 1: PM10 levels for particular cities by region in the years 2013‐2014.

Approaches and methodologies

To attain satisfactory indoor air quality, certain conditions must be considered at each phase of a construction’s life. The conditions range from design and erection to operation and repairs. A suitable design and selection of building resources and merchandise, which have little releases of contaminants are one of the best operative means to guarantee acceptable indoor air quality. Thus, architects have a vital and direct influence on indoor air quality by enhancing the design of buildings. Design of a construction plays an important part in decreasing the probability for vapor buildup and decreasing air penetration. In warm and humid regions, there are higher chances that air and vapor incoming through gaps in the structure envelopes will enhance condensation and bacterial growth. From an indoor air quality viewpoint, it is vital to have a firmly closed structure with an unbroken and robust air barricade system. Entrances facing automobile parks or other springs of contamination could pollute the interior air. Thus, it is prudent to encompass lift foyers in car parks in the workplace or other constructions with self-closing, well- closed entrances. In addition, water source, water pipes, effluent systems, and supplementary fittings should be properly installed to reduce the risk of seepages.

Construction and furnishing tools may be causes of indoor air contaminants. To realize indoor air quality objectives, construction designers should restrict the usage of high discharging construction and furnishing tools. Materials with the lesser emission amounts should be used so long as they satisfy all pertinent legal requirements. When selecting and mounting tools such as a photographic processing kit and gas appliances, construction managers should ensure that detailed contamination controls like fitted gas filters are installed properly. Similarly, they should ensure that the appliances conform to suitable emission standards as stipulated by the regulations. The endorsed emission proportions for office appliances in accordance with the regulations are captured in the table below.

Parameter Excellent class Good class
Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC) < 200 µg/m2 h < 400 µg/m2 h
Formaldehyde (HCHO) < 50 µg/m2 h < 125 µg/m2 h
Ozone (O3) – for centrally located machines < 10 µg/h m3 < 10 µg/h m3
Ozone (O3) – for personal-used machines < 100 µg/h m3 < 100 µg/h m3

Table 1: endorsed emission proportions for office appliances

Decent arrangement of building uses and interior design may also aid in stopping numerous needless indoor air quality difficulties. For instance, mixed-use constructions characterized by increased pollutant emissions should be situated in places far away from residential areas. Likewise, accomplishments like voluminous photocopying ought to be situated in areas distant from busy offices to lessen the effect of particles and chemicals on the occupiers. The apportioning of the design might influence the efficiency of air circulation leading to stationary zones with deprived air quality.

With respect to mechanical ventilation and air-conditioning system, MVAC, installations of suitable and accurately designed air circulation systems are the best operative approaches for realizing decent indoor air quality. Constructions are usually fitted with mechanical ventilation systems to bring in and diffuse fresh air. In these constructions, several aspects influence the suitability and the worth of the air delivered by the system. Some of the facets are as follows:

  • The worth of outdoor air
  • The fresh air intake
  • Air filters, and cleaners
  • Siting on ventilation equipment
  • Recirculation
  • Variable air volume system controls
  • Ventilation controls
  • Ventilation of pollution-emitting activities
  • Ventilation rates

To enhance indoor air quality and protect the ventilation apparatus, out-of-doors air and re-circulated inside air needs to be sifted to eliminate filth, microorganisms, pollens, flies, smoke, and other contaminant elements prior the air entering the MVAC system. Therefore, air-cleaning apparatuses should be assimilated into the system. Equally, MVAC systems of exact zone ought to be on as long as the zone is occupied. It is also a decent habit to power the system before the occupiers arrive to reduce the impacts of accrued contaminants over vacant periods. For office block or capacities that are predominantly susceptible to condensation and bacterial growth ventilation apparatuses may need to stay in operation throughout prolonged uninhabited periods. An inclusive maintenance regime should be instituted to guarantee that the ventilation system operates as it is intended. The above will require regular review of the numerous mechanisms, confirmation of pressure relations, and regulation of tools as necessary.

Likewise, key renovation works ought to be banned during usual working hours if possible. Through this approach, the chances of the occupants being exposed to the contaminants will be reduced. If the above is not practicable, the area to be refurbished should be well secluded to ensure that cross pollution of the working areas by filth and other poisonous matters is reduced. If needed, supply air to the refurbished and working areas should be detached. Usage of noxious materials such paints should be undertaken after the end of the usual working hours.

The use of pesticides in buildings is another source of poor indoor air quality. Pesticides comprise of substances that can have severe impacts on human health. As such, misapplication of insecticides is a common source of indoor air quality grievances. The necessity to apply pesticides in constructions should be reduced whenever possible. Sealing and covering fissures and enhancing hygiene and waste management will prevent pest infestation. If it is essential to use insecticides, administrators must abide by the rule of conduct issued by the pest control regulators in the UAE. Pesticide application should be undertaken outside usual working hours. Dwellers in parts to be fumigated must be informed earlier to shun any needless contact. Pesticides must be sprayed in directed locations. Similarly, the building administrator or other individual who is in charge of the pest control operations should have knowledge of the chemical characteristics and the possible health threats of all pesticide merchandises used.

Housekeeping is another significant aspect in avoiding indoor air quality glitches. The approach keeps dust intensities down and eliminates dust that could otherwise become causes of pollution. The cleaning program should be organized based on residence patterns and movement levels. Everyday washing of surfaces and vacuuming of floorings is prudent for parts experiencing great traffic. The above areas comprise of most workplace areas and public spaces. Mostly, cleaning agents releasing fumes with strong smells should be avoided. If necessary, the chemicals should be used outside usual occupied hours.

Lastly, tobacco smoking should be prohibited in offices and other public spaces. In offices and public spaces, special smoking zones should be created. The smoking zones should not face directly at the building entrances to achieve minimum indoor air contamination.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it should be noted that in the present city life the quality of air in the indoor setting has a substantial effect on individuals’ fitness and well-being. Unlike in the past centuries, most people spend most of their time in the indoor environment. In this respect, poor indoor air quality may cause uneasiness, health problems, nonattendance, and reduced output. On the other hand, enhanced indoor air quality protects the health of the residents and adds value to their well-being. Related to out-of-door air pollution, indoor air pollution has not been taken with seriousness in the past.. Conventionally, determinations to manage air quality in the indoor setting have focused on the deterrence of work-related illnesses in industrial constructions. To attain satisfactory indoor air quality, certain conditions must be considered at each phase of a construction’s life.

The conditions range from design and erection to operation and repairs. Approaches to endorse decent air quality and stop indoor air contamination hitches should be created and executed in the following areas, building design and construction, building uses and layout mechanical ventilation & air-conditioning, renovation works, pest control, housekeeping and cleaning, and tobacco smoking. All of the above factors combined will influence indoor air quality. In this respect, it is imperative that none of them is disregarded. Usually, it is difficult and occasionally impossible to recompense for deprived indoor air quality operation in one area through refining other areas. The above imply that all the areas should be given adequate attention to attain good indoor air quality.

Appendix

Cities with very bad indoor air quality

  • Delhi, India: Delhi is the leading city with bad indoor air quality. The numerous old automobiles on roads, use of biomass, increased industry releases, increase reliance on coal-powered power stations the city is the top city with bad indoor air quality.
  • Dhaka, Bangladesh: known for being the second city with bad indoor air quality. The city’s huge population is blamed for unembellished air pollution and waste management glitches.

Cities with very good indoor air quality

  • Oslo, Norway: this is the number one city with good indoor air quality. The city has remained constantly clean for the reason that city administrators are eager to spend much of their subsidy on substitute energy sources and green practices in general.
  • Bern, Switzerland: this is the second city with very good indoor air quality. Known for its pristine natural beauty, the city one of the cleanest cities in the world.

References

Nathanson, T. (2013). Indoor air quality in office buildings: A technical guide : A report of the Federal-Provincial Advisory Committee on Environmental and Occupational Health. (4th ed.). Ottawa: The Committee.

Parker, G. (2009). Environmental engineering: Air Polution. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Pepper, D., & Carrington, D. (2009). Modeling indoor air pollution. London: Imperial College Press.

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IvyPanda. "Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Control." May 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/indoor-air-quality-iaq-control/.

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