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sick building syndrome

Integrated design for total indoor environmental quality.

Design for good indoor air quality IAQ) aims to prevent occupant discomfort, irritation, and illness. Sick building syndrome symptoms, discomfort and irritation can easily be the result of other, non-IAQ environmental variables. There is evidence that many such symptoms or complaints result from noise, poor lighting, lack of privacy or control, and other environmental factors that can cause these symptoms and complaints.

Sick building syndrome: the acoustic environment.

The acoustic environment was investigated in an office building with a history of occupant complaints. A scoring system was developed for rating occupants' sick building symptoms. High scores were associated with the occurrence of high levels of infrasound (< 20 Hz) in the rooms, und low levels with low scores. The infrasound came from the ventilation system as airborne noise, rather than structural-borne vibration. Levels of infrasound were often amplified in the tightly sealed rooms, and could be higher at work stations than at supply grilles.

Interzonal airflow from garages to occupied zones as one reason for building related illness: three case studies using tracer gas measurements.

Tracer distribution measurements were performed to assess pollutant transport from basement garages situated in a commercial building and in two residential buildings, in which the occupants had reported typical garage odors and complained about bad indoor air and typical SBS symptoms. A tracer gas technique (tracer gas SF6, infrared detection) was used in all three buildings to study the contaminant distribution in the buildings. In the commercial building, a leaky HVAC system distributed contaminated air from the garage to other zones of the building.

Decipols: should we use them?

This paper provides a discussion on the use of the olf and the decipol. The validity of using these units to determine ventilation rates and compare pollution emission rates is discussed, in relation to their derivation and theoretical basis and the method of application. A procedure has been developed for testing buildings by using a trained panel of people to rate air quality directly in decipol units. This was used in nine European countries as part pf the 'European Audit Project'.

Symptoms experienced, environmental factors and energy consumption in office buildings.

A major increase of complaints has been observed by the occupants of buildings, concerning health symptoms and comfort. In this study, the occupants' experience of symptoms as well as the occupants' sensation of the environmental parameters were estimated in six office buildings, where the indoor air quality was investigated. It was found that the percentage of building related symptoms experienced by the occupants of the buildings was high and it was strongly related to human comfort and human sensation concerning the environmental conditions.

Cleaning: a solution to the sick building mystery?

The connection between health and cleanliness is, for most people, a matter of common sense. Office workers report higher rates of discomfort when they perceive a dirty, dusty environment. Research, not surprisingly, shows that certain cleaning methods are effective in reducing dust on surfaces and in reducing the levels of indoor air contaminants. Yet some cleaning practices, like the use of improperly diluted cleaning solutions, are themselves significant threats to good IAQ. As with everything else, there are right and wrong ways to clean.

A questionnaire for studies of sick building syndrome. A report to the Royal Society of Health Advisory Group on sick building syndrome.

This report describes the development of a standard questionnaire for use in investigating sick building syndrome (SBS) in specific cases and in research projects. The questionnaire itself is packaged with the report. It is intended to be used for screening surveys to determine the prevalence of SBS in a particular building. It may be necessary to adapt the questionnaire if it is going to be used for a specific research project or to gather data on particular potential causes of SBS. The focus has been on achieving standardisation within the United Kingdom.

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