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BRE release report on reducing the impact of urban air pollution

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has issued new guidance to help architects and designers achieve acceptable indoor air quality in areas with high outdoor pollution levels, while also providing sufficient ventilation for the building.
Existing guidelines on ventilation requirements usually assume that the external air supply is 'fresh' and free from contaminants but this is often not the case in urban areas, according to the new BRE guidance, 'Ventilation for healthy buildings: reducing the impact of urban air pollution'.

'Very often in city areas the incoming air supply may be contaminated by a variety of externally generated pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and fine particles,' said Vina Kukadia, head of air pollution at BRE and a co-author of the report. 'If the concentration of these pollutants in the indoor environment is sufficiently high, then it could affect the health and productivity of a building's occupants.'

As people typically spend up to 90 per cent of their time indoors, then exposure to this external pollution is a major part of their overall level of exposure. The challenge is how to provide good air quality indoors without exposing a building's occupants to harmful levels of pollution from the outdoor air via ventilation processes.

The BRE Trust funded report is designed to provide practical information on how to assess outdoor air pollutant concentrations in the vicinity of proposed urban buildings or developments from a range of sources. It also looks at ways to reduce the impact of polluted outdoor air on indoor environments.

Ventilation for healthy buildings: reducing the impact of urban air pollution is available from, or by calling +44 (0) 1344 328038, ref. FB 30.
18 April 2011


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