- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 12 Jul 2021
Indoor environmental quality
With people generally spending more time indoors, and buildings being more tightly constructed and isolated from the external environment, a greater importance is being placed on the indoor environment.
Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is a general 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.
- Airborne contaminants (gases and particles) from; office equipment, cleaning products, construction activities, furnishings and carpets, water-damaged building materials, microbial growth (fungal, bacterial and mould), outdoor pollutants, and so on.
- Indoor air quality.
- Thermal comfort.
- Daylight, lighting and views.
- Electromagnetic frequency levels.
- Acoustic conditions.
- 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 airborne 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.
 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.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Air change rates.
- Air filtration and clean indoor air quality standards.
- Air quality.
- BREEAM Indoor air quality plan.
- BREEAM Indoor air quality Ventilation.
- BREEAM Indoor pollutants VOCs.
- BREEAM NOx emissions.
- BS ISO 17772 - Indoor environmental quality.
- Building Back Better: Health.
- Building related illness.
- Ensuring good indoor air quality in buildings.
- Health effects of indoor air quality on children and young people.
- Health and wellbeing impacts of natural and artificial lighting.
- Indoor air quality.
- Lighting and health infographic.
- Sick building syndrome.
- TG10 2016 At a glance, wellbeing.
- TSI Environmental dust monitoring system.
- Use of lighting to improve health and wellbeing.
Featured articles and news
Helping communities preserve and enhance historic environments.
Creating comfortable climates despite extreme temperatures.
Study examines how adjustable arrangements can succeed.
Government announces plans to improve accessibility.
Resource addresses pandemic-related NEC4 contract issues.
Incorporating EDI into the provision of fair access.
Government announces global innovation strategy.
An architectural biography. Book review.
The house where the future king of France lived.
The teacher, architectural technologist and mum offers her insights.
Careful planning needed as supply chain issues continue.
The sensitive conversion of a neglected Cornwall structure.