AIVC - Air Infiltration and Ventilation Centre

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sick building syndrome

Ventilation and "building sickness" - a brief review.

As the thermal performance of buildings continues to improve, air exchange will eventually become the dominant mechanism for building heat loss. Although, therefore, an essential parameter of the energy equation, ventilation is nevertheless vital forthe dilution and removal of pollution generated within buildings. An inadequate supply of fresh air or poor air distribution will result in high levels of indoor contaminants, discomfort and a poor living environment, it could also result in more serious health related problems.

A new approach to the investigation of sick building syndrome.

Most large-scale investigations of sick building syndrome (SBS) have relied on comparisons among buildings, which necessarily involve many confounding factors. We are now conducting a study based on systematic modification of environmental conditions in a building, with double-blind monitoring of occupants' responses to the changes. Different changes (e.g. repairing or cleaning the ventilation systems, improving office cleaning), are carried out in different rooms in a series of study "modules", including a control module.

Indoor air quality in "Buildings of the Year". Maximum productivity - Minimum of complaints.

Sustained efforts to conserve energy during the last 15 years have taken place at the expense of the indoor environmental quality. Ventilation air volume has been reduced to a minimum. The use of new materials, substances and equipment which emit gases, vapours, fibres and other pollutants into indoor air are and additional reason for the increasing frequency of complaints about the indoor environment. If air quality is improved by increasing air volume, the energy demand will increase - and extended initial costs will rise.