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HEATING, VENTILATION & SERVICES


69 Holistic design takes centre stage


Following on from a raft of recent research that makes a clear connection between the built environment and health and wellbeing, David Cook of Vent-Axia discusses the new Government White Paper on the crucial effect of building design


Homes and Buildings’ White Paper ‘Building our Future: Laying the Foundations for Healthy Homes and Buildings,’ published in October 2018, focuses on the detrimental impact that poor quality buildings are having on the nation’s health and wellbeing, and makes far-reaching recommendations on how this should be tackled. The White Paper outlines how, by tackling the numerous issues in new and existing constructions in a more holistic way, there is a real opportunity to create buildings that promote positive health and wellbeing. The White Paper makes clear recommendations to the Government on how it can improve standards in homes and buildings to benefit occupants’ health and wellbeing. Representing a key part of these recommendations, the White Paper calls for better and consistent building standards and regulations. It also calls for both new build designs and building renovations to consider health and wellbeing, taking a holistic approach to consider elements such as ventilation, heating, energy efficiency, air quality, lighting and acoustics. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Healthy Homes and Buildings believes that it is only by taking such a holistic approach to delivering healthy homes and buildings that we can make changes where the real benefits can be realised. Without focusing on the issue as a whole, it suggests we risk making gains by tackling one issue, simply to lose them again by failing to tackle another.


H Indoor air quality


As part of the holistic design of healthy buildings, ventilation and indoor air quality are two key areas to consider. The White Paper identifies aspects of poor quality, such as buildings suffering from poor indoor air quality (IAQ); which has


ADF JANUARY 2019


ealth and wellbeing can no longer be ignored. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Healthy


been linked to allergy and asthma, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, and dementia. It is cited in the White Paper that this results in an annual cost to the UK of over 204,000 healthy life years. This backs up earlier findings from The Royal College of Physicians, which reported that poor IAQ causes thousands of deaths per year, and has healthcare costs amounting to “tens of millions of pounds” every year. Meanwhile, in terms of healthy buildings, the Stoddart Review found that the health and wellbeing of staff had a significant positive impact on productivity, with happy workers being 12 per cent more productive. Nationally, just a 1 per cent increase in productivity would add £20bn to the UK economy, so the benefits of healthy buildings definitely add up. Following a raft of reports linking the health implications related to indoor and outdoor air pollution, momentum is now growing regarding the importance of good air quality. As a result, the publication of the White Paper follows hot on the heels of Defra’s new Clean Air Strategy consultation, published in May 2018, which confirmed the importance of


WELLBEING TO THE FORE Wellbeing measures within the recent refurbishment of UK Green Building Council’s London headquarters included an innovative ventilation system featuring Vent-Axia’s Lo-Carbon T-Series fans, delivering a 750 per cent increase in background fresh air Images © Morgan Lovell


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