Poor ventilation can be associated with unhealthy buildings. Miller (1992), for example, highlights the association of increasing bacteriological concentration with decreasing ventilation rates, while Billington (1982) has produced an historical review of the role of ventilation in improving health and reducing the spread of illness. Studies reported by Sundell (1994) and others have shown that symptoms of building sickness can occur at all ventilation ranges. However, any link between the rate of ventilation and the occurrence of symptoms becomes very weak at ventilation rates above approximately 10 litres/s for each occupant (l/ s.p). It would be incorrect, therefore, to associate all building health related problems with inadequate ventilation. Health problems in buildings may often have much more to do with the character and source of pollutant present in the space rather than the adequacy of ventilation.


  1. Miller J D (1992) Microbial contamination on indoor air, Proc Indoor Air Quality, Ventilation and Energy Conservation, 5th International Jacques Cartier Conference, Montreal, Canada 1992.
  2. Billington N (1982) The art of ventilation . Proc 3rd AIVC Conference 1982.
  3. Sundell J (1994) On the association between building ventilation characteristics, some indoor environmental exposures, some allergic manifestations and subjective symptom reports. Indoor Air Supplement No2/94 1994.

For more information see European Collaborative Action on Urban Air, Indoor Environment and Human Exposure