Poor air quality seriously impairs our ability to think clearly; makes us feel unwell; helps spread viruses like colds and flu; and can cause respiratory and cardio-vascular disease. Just because we can’t see or smell the pollution indoors, doesn't mean it isn’t there!
CO2 levels of 1500 to 3,000 parts per million are common in meeting rooms, yet these levels impair our ability to use information by up to 60% and reduce initiative by over 90%. These are not optimal environments for making business decisions.
Humidity levels, either too high or too low, have a dramatic effect on the spread of viruses amongst staff. This means a high cost in reduced productivity and increased absenteeism as well as lowering morale.
VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) can arise from cleaning chemicals, paints, carpets, office equipment and people in the office, or come in from outside through windows or unfiltered ventilation systems. Even in low concentrations, they can affect the respiratory, reproductive and central nervous systems; liver and spleen functions and the blood.
Fine Dust is worst in major cities and heavily industrialised areas. It is pumped out by engine exhausts, industrial processes, power stations, construction activities and natural sources. Small particles can get into the lungs and cause diseases from asthma to cancer.
Lighting is going through an evolution to reduce power usage and extend lifecycles; but in the process, we should not make progress at the expense of meeting people’s need for daylight, or daylight equivalent, in order to function well. Otherwise people become stressed and depressed as well as getting eye strain.
Jonathan Copley, of Siemens Building Technologies explains, “In our efforts to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we have almost hermetically sealed modern buildings. The air can quickly become toxic. Checking and monitoring air quality is inexpensive, and the solution may be as simple as opening a window occasionally. If needed, installing proper air quality control systems can quickly be paid for through increased productivity, lower employee turnover and a happier workforce”.