It is only fairly recently that scientific and public concerns have focused on the probable health risk that the presence of air pollutants can cause in residential or non-industrial buildings. Several reasons have contributed to the deterioration of indoor air quality (IAQ) including some aspects of trends in the construction sector, most important of which are the design of buildings with increased air tightness for the sake of energy conservation but also the use of innovative building materials based on complex synthetic chemical substances. The degradation of indoor microenvironments and the realization of the possible risks that may occur due to the combination of anthropogenic indoor activities and of long term exposure, even to low air pollutant concentrations, activated the scientific community and the involved organisations to face the IAQ problem. The development and application of IAQ guidelines and standards are the result of these efforts. After several regressions, the world community seems to agree on the adoption of an integrated building approach, when establishing IAQ guidelines and standards, as the most appropriate method to accomplish both acceptable IAQ and energy conservation. The developments that led to the current state of the art are discussed in this paper.