INDOOR AIR QUALITY
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns. Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.
WHY ARE PEOPLE SUDDENLY TALKING ABOUT IAQ?
The reason is indoor air quality in India; especially Delhi has become very poor. Over a million people in India die every year because of indoor air pollution, among st the highest in the world. Unlike many western countries, India does not have any norm for indoor air pollution, which mandates emission norms for home appliances such as refrigerators, air-conditioners and bread toasters and a limit beyond which dirty air inside homes can be bad for one's health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that healthier homes and workplaces could prevent around 1 million deaths, globally, a year, and explicitly singled out indoor air quality as a factor.
FACTORS AFFECTING INDOOR AIR POLLUTION
Much of the building fabric, its furnishings and equipment, its occupants and their activities produce pollution. In a well functioning building, some of these pollutants will be directly exhausted to the outdoors and some will be removed as outdoor air enters the building and replaces the air inside. The air outside may also contain contaminants which will be brought inside in this process. This air exchange is brought about by the mechanical introduction of outdoor air (outdoor air ventilation rate), the mechanical exhaust of indoor air, and the air exchanged through the building envelope (infiltration and exfiltration). Pollutants inside can travel through the building as air flows from areas of higher atmospheric pressure to areas of lower atmospheric pressure. Some of these pathways are planned and deliberate so as to draw pollutants away from occupants, but problems arise when unintended flows draw contaminants into occupied areas. In addition, some contaminants may be removed from the air through natural processes, as with the adsorption of chemicals by surfaces or the settling of particles onto surfaces. Removal processes may also be deliberately incorporated into the building systems. Air filtration devices, for example, are commonly incorporated into building ventilation systems.
MANAGING THE INDOOR AIR QUALITY IN BUILDINGS