2 Million Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) are lost every year to Poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
We support initiatives such as the EU funded HealthVent project, which promotes and develops health-based ventilation guidelines. The idea is to protect people in places like schools, nurseries, offices and homes against health problems caused by poor indoor air quality, but at the same time will ensure that energy is utilised efficiently.
People in developed parts of the world spend up to 90-95% of their time indoors, whether in homes, offices, shops, schools, nurseries or other buildings. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is therefore important for our health. Good indoor air quality is our basic right. Buildings function as a source of shelter and protection. However, the air we breathe in them has a direct impact on our health.
Well-functioning and sufficient ventilation in buildings is necessary to ensure that indoor air is free from pollutants, and that indoor temperatures and moisture levels are sufficiently regulated. Problems in indoor air quality caused by insufficient ventilation, moisture, mould, VOCs and indoor air pollutants are linked to the loss of millions of healthy life years. In particular, people with allergies and respiratory diseases are affected by air quality problems.
The HealthVent project draws upon the expertise of specialists in medical and public health sciences, engineering, physics, energy, ventilation and other areas, as well as the experiences of people with respiratory diseases, to collect, analyse and critically asses the information necessary to develop effective guidelines to improve the quality of ventilation in European buildings.
The experts analyse the effect of ventilation and air quality on citizens’ health, and the different ways in which buildings are ventilated. The performance of different types of ventilation systems have been reviewed, and the improvements necessary to ensure better, healthier and more energy efficient buildings identified.
Awareness of the benefits of improved ventilation and its impact on health needs to be increased amongst building occupiers, and guidelines such as these, can influence policy, regulation, and practice related to buildings. Ideas on how progress can continue over time developed, so that indoor air quality can be improved for all European citizens.