Last edited 21 Apr 2018

BREEAM Indoor air quality Ventilation


[edit] Aim and benefits

Many studies demonstrate that poor ventilation is one main cause to health issues. The effects of poor indoor air quality can include headaches, dizziness and fatigue, while also contributing to more long-term health issues such as asthma, heart disease and cancer.

It is also proved that productivity is higher in workplaces with better indoor air quality.

The aim of this BREEAM credit is to promote healthy buildings, reducing risk of health concerns associated with indoor air pollution and provide building occupant comfort and productivity .

[edit] When to consider

This is not applicable to Shell only projects

This should be considered during the early design of the ventilation systems for the building. The majority of buildings will use air conditioned or mixed mode ventilation systems. The location of the air handling unit’s intake and exhausts need to be considered.

The intakes and exhausts should be 10m apart and intakes should be over 20 m from sources of external pollution (such as car parks and roads etc)


The buildings intake sand exhausts can be designed in accordance with BS EN13779:2007 Annex A2.

For Naturally Ventilated buildings

Openable windows should be over 10m from external sources of pollution.

[edit] Step by step guidance


[edit] Questions to ask while seeking compliance

  • Check the filtration class as the first task, as in many cases it does not comply - then you do not waste time with checking rest of this issue (not applicable for Shell and core).
  • Is the building naturally ventilated or mechanically ventilated?
  • What is the proposed plant location? If it is on the roof how far away are the ventilation intakes are from sources of pollution from other building, frequently used roads or car parks?
  • Can the intakes or exhaust be extended?
  • Is the building occupancy fixed or variable? ( this may be a by product of the natural of the building i.e office will always be design to so many people per square metre where as retail space can be subject to large variable changes in occupancy)

[edit] Tools and resources

EN:13779: 2007 Annex A2 - For mechanically ventilated buildings

EN:13779: 2007 Annex A3 - For naturally ventilated buildings

[edit] Tips and best practice

In some cases it is easier to draw a 10m radius on the roof drawing, with supply in the middle - showing there is not extract in the circle. Please note this is 3D space so if the building is high off the ground away from a source of pollution it will still comply.

Fire smoke extract is not considered and does not need to be checked.

[edit] Typical evidence

Design stage evidence

  • IAQ plan.
  • For mechanically ventilated buildings - Layout of the roof showing position of all air intakes and extracts and their position to each other. Not only from HVAC units itself, but also between them and to any other building extracts - eg. sewage system, toilet extract, local extract, etc.
  • For naturally ventilated buildings - Layout and elevations showing distances to external pollution sources.
  • For mixed mode buildings - both evidence as above.
  • Technical report from mechanical engineer confirming standards used as per S&W List.
  • Technical sheets from HVAC units / technical report listing type and class of the filters used.
  • If applicable, drawing showing position of CO2 sensors and technical report describing their functionality.This is applicable for areas of large and unpredictable or variable occupancy patterns..
  • Letter / extract from the law confirming that smoking is prohibited in the building OR drawing with non-smoking signs and policy to be implemented. In case that dedicated smoking room is present, technical report describing its ventilation system.

Post construction evidence

For naturally ventilated building confirmation from designer that building complies with BREEAM criteria.

[edit] Applicable Schemes

The guidelines collated in this ISD aim to support sustainable best practice in the topic described. This issue may apply in multiple BREEAM schemes covering different stages in the life of a building, different building types and different year versions. Some content may be generic but scheme nuances should also be taken into account. Refer to the comments below and related articles to this one to understand these nuances. See this document for further guidelines.

BRE Global does not endorse any of the content posted and use of the content will not guarantee the meeting of certification criteria.

This article was created originally in a BREEAM Workshop by Tom Abbott, Sandra Turcaniova, Lenka Matejickova, Azita Dezfouli and Joe Hodgkinson

--Multiple Author Article 21:56, 21 Apr 2018 (BST)