Alan Macklin, group technical director at Elta Group.
NICE has published guidance, ‘Indoor air quality at home’, arguing that since we spend 90 per cent of our lives inside, poor air quality within our structures is an imminent risk to everyone’s health. The document issues recommendations to a range of stakeholders, including local authorities, healthcare professionals, and ventilation specialists.
Mr Macklin, group technical director at Elta Group, commented: “There has been significant research into the impact of bad air quality in our buildings, especially as the insulation of structures reduces levels of natural ventilation. Sick building syndrome has made an unwelcome return and the link between CO2 and concentration levels in schools is alarming.
“However, it is in homes that we spend most of our time – about 60 per cent according to NICE’s guidelines – and it is crucial that we raise awareness of the problems associated with bad domestic air quality. We are at a critical juncture and as emerging technologies equip us with means to make our homes healthier, we have a responsibility to do so.”
The guidelines emphasise the full range of this culpability, identifying opportunities for local authorities to understand the sources and symptoms of poor indoor air quality and what actions to take should they encounter it. It also contains advice for healthcare professionals, highlighting those who are most at risk and suggesting practical steps to overcome the adverse effects of pollutants.
However, it is in the building, renovating and refurbishing of homes that there is the greatest opportunity to action change.
Mr Macklin concluded: “Ventilation manufacturers must work closely with architects, designers, builders and developers to ensure homes are provided with the best solutions. From product design through to installation, the focus must be on adopting a whole-house approach to heating and ventilation, taking energy efficiency into account while striving for optimum air quality.
“As we strive to eliminate the major sources of pollutants in the outside world, we must do everything we can to make our homes a healthy sanctuary, and take an intelligent approach to implementing effective ventilation.”