Indoor air quality (IAQ) represents the number of air pollutants present within and around buildings and structures. The gases (including carbon monoxide, radon, volatile organic compounds), particulates, microbial contaminants (mold, bacteria) are responsible for poor indoor air quality.
IAQ may negatively affect the health, comfort, and well-being of building occupants. Disabilities and diseases such as sick building syndrome reduce productivity, and impaired learning in schools is linked to prolonged exposure to poor indoor air quality.
The four basic factors that influence indoor air quality are:
- A building’s occupants.
- A building’s HVAC system.
- Possible pollutant pathways.
- Possible sources of contamination.
How to Determine IAQ of a structure?
The determination of IAQ involves the following steps:
- Collection of air samples.
- Monitoring human exposure to pollutants.
- Collection of samples on building surfaces.
- Computer modeling of airflow inside the building.
What are the Causes of IAQ?
The causes of IAQ could be from one or more sources. Some of the causes are listed below:
- Indoor environment- inadequate temperature, humidity, poor air circulation, ventilation system issues.
- Indoor air contaminants- chemicals, dust, or fungi, bacteria, gases, vapors, odors.
- Insufficient outdoor air intake.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality?
The three basic strategies to improve the indoor air quality are:
- The most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate individual pollution sources or reduce their emissions.
- By increasing the ventilation of the building, the concentration level of indoor air pollutants can be decreased, thus improving the indoor air quality.
- Installation of air purifiers inside the building to trap and eliminate the pollutants.