The health benefits of good ventilation

Patrick Calvey of Siegenia looks at the issue of air pollution and the considerations designers of new facilities and refurbishments need to make in order to combat it

dangers of exposure to NOx parti- cles in particular have hit the public consciousness in recent months and with the risks to heart and cognitive health becoming ever clearer, ventilation is increas- ingly becoming a priority when building or renovating public facilities, especially healthcare establishments.

T Last summer a study on the effects of

NOx particles on the heart by Queen Mary University of London made the headlines.

The study of 4,000 people in the UK found that changes to the structure of the heart

occurred even when exposure to NOx was less than the UK legal limit. Other recent studies carried out in China and London have also suggested that air pollution can have a negative effect on cognitive intelli- gence, and that it can increase the risk of developing dementia in the over 50s. While many healthcare sites across the country, as part of the Carbon Reduction and Sustainable Development Strategies, have implemented green measures which will reduce air pollution levels in the vicin- ity, there remains the problem of indoor air quality.

Far from providing respite from the outdoor air, a study by the US Environmental Protection Agency has found that indoor air pollution is often between two and five times greater than outdoors – and can reach up to 100 times greater – as pollutants entering from

outside are added to the CO2 and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) indoors. Poor indoor air quality can have numer- ous detrimental effects including worsening asthmatic symptoms, headaches and loss of productivity. Poor air quality in the workplace has even been found to be the cause behind 800,000 premature deaths per year, according to The Lancet. In order to provide a healthy indoor environment for staff, patients and visitors it is therefore important that planners make indoor air

ADF JUNE 2019 WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK he effects of air pollution and the

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