Last edited 17 Nov 2015

Indoor environmental quality


[edit] Introduction

With people generally spending more time indoors, and buildings being more tightly constructed and isolated from the external enviroment, a greater importance is being placed on the indoor environment.

Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is a geneal indicator of the quality of conditions inside a building. It can also include functional aspects of space, for example whether the layout provides access to equipment when needed and whether the building has sufficient space for its occupants.

A better indoor environmental quality can enhance the wellbeing of building occupants and help decrease the occurrence of sick building syndrome and building related illness. It can also lead to a decrease in worker complaints and absenteeism which in turn can improve productivity.

[edit] Factors influencing indoor environmental quality

The indoor building environment is complex and there are a variety of factors that can influence its environmental quality.

[edit] Optimal indoor environmental quality design

In order to optimise indoor environmental quality, the design and development process should:

  • Ensure good quality design, construction, commissioning, operating and maintenance practices.
  • Consider aesthetic designs including the importance of views and the integration of natural elements.
  • Provide thermal comfort controls for occupants where possible.
  • Supply adequate levels and quality of ventilation.
  • Prevent airbourne bacteria, mould and other fungi through a design that manages moisture sources inside and outside the building.
  • Use building products that do not emit pollutants.
  • Use sound absorbing / insulating materials to help create optimal acoustic levels.

[edit] Building management to improve indoor environmental quality

There are a number of ways that the indoor environmental quality of existing buildings can be improved, including:

  • Using fragrance-free and low VOC (volatile organic compounds) cleaning products.
  • Undertaking audits of cleaning products and devising a cleaning plan to replace products with safer alternatives.
  • Vacuuming regularly and using vacuums with HEPA (High-efficiency particulate arrestance) filters.
  • Ensuring that HVAC equipment is well maintained and working optimally.
  • Creating a door and window opening protocol to maintain sufficient air flow.
  • Avoiding dust blowing equipment such as leaf blowers and diesel-powered engine equipment.
  • When using pesticides, fertilisers and lime applications, ensuring there is little or no wind.
  • Maintaining buildings and furnishings to a high standard reducing the need for renovation and remodelling.
  • Ensuring filters in HVAC systems are properly maintained.
  • Optimising lighting.

[edit] Find out more

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.