Last edited 20 Jan 2021

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Ensuring good indoor air quality in buildings

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Ensuring good indoor air quality in buildings was written by Vina Kukadia and Stuart Upton and published by the BRE Trust in March 2019.

According to the United Nations, in 2016, 54.5% of the world’s population was living in urban settlements, with 23%, or 1.7 billion, living in cities with at least a million inhabitants. That is expected to rise to 60% by 2030.

With the growth in urbanisation comes the risk of increased air pollution, which the World Health Organization estimates is the cause of three million deaths globally each year.

While outdoor air pollution can impact the quality of indoor air in buildings, an array of other factors also negatively affect indoor environments and the health of occupants. This is a critical issue given that people living in developed countries typically spend 90% or more of their time indoors, with the most susceptible individuals, such as the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions, spending almost all their time inside.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is complex, with many factors affecting it, including a wide range of pollutants and sources, building types, locations and décor. Exposure to different pollutants can cause health effects ranging from the worsening of asthmatic conditions and skin irritation, to premature deaths caused by heart and lung disease.

This free BRE Trust publication summarises the issues that building owners, designers and facilities managers face when seeking to provide good indoor air quality. It gives an overview of the sources and types of pollutants likely to affect different indoor environments in urban areas, and summarises current regulations, standards and guidance in the UK. It also includes short case studies to illustrate strategies for improving indoor air quality.

Its contents are:

Ensuring good indoor air quality in buildings can be downloaded free at:

--BRE Group

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