The indoor environment has a significant effect on the health and wellbeing of the population. People in industrialised countries spend approximately 90% of their time indoors with some vulnerable groups spending almost all of their time indoors. Good quality indoor air in buildings is, therefore, vital for the health, comfort, wellbeing and productivity of the occupants.
The main drivers for improving IAQ include the move towards more airtight buildings, efficacy of ventilation provision, occupant health & wellbeing, and climate change.
Drawing from the wide experience of the BRE IAQ team in undertaking testing, monitoring and consultancy in a wide range of domestic and non-domestic buildings (and in carrying out research into IAQ and ventilation), this paper seeks to set out the ways in which satisfactory IAQ may be achieved. In doing so, it focuses on the primary causes of indoor air contamination and on the factors which contribute to poor air quality within buildings. Design issues and preventative measures are also discussed.