Veolia has calls on the government to refine its indoor air quality regulatory guidance, aligned to that of the World Health Organisation.
It states that there are solutions available but the lack of monitoring in buildings, aggravated by limited public awareness, will continue to have devastating consequences if urgent action is not taken.
Richard Kirkman, chief technology and innovation officer at Veolia UK & Ireland, says: “We can smell car fumes and sometimes we see dust levels outside, but little is known about invisible indoor air pollution and its potential health effects - thought to be eight times more dangerous than outdoor conditions.
“Veolia has been monitoring and studying indoor air at a global level for over a decade, and out of the hundreds of buildings we have audited, over 80 per cent have required some corrective action; in the UK it is no different. Our research shows the public are poorly informed on an issue that will affect each and every one of us.
“Current government advice on indoor air quality is fragmented, ineffective and has been poorly enforced to date. Solutions are available to prevent further indoor air related health impacts, but only if the problem is taken seriously by policy makers and stronger guidelines are imposed. Adopting guidance on indoor air quality will be an important, immediate step in preventing a whole generation from suffering unnecessary ill-health or reduced life expectancy.
“We can monitor, test, and remediate air quality in buildings to very safe levels - potentially paying for the clean up with energy savings we implement at the same time - so it does not have to come at a cost.”
A recent UK study piloting a bio synthetic clean air wall (CAW), a filtration intervention, found that air quality can be improved along with taking other measures to improve well-being in offices.
A case in France demonstrated the importance of integrating indoor air quality during renovations. Veolia’s air quality experts were called in to investigate Radio France’s headquarters in Paris after employees and guests felt indisposed in the studios and offices, following the building renovation.
The experts measured the air quality levels in the whole building, identifying pollution sources and proposed solutions to improve indoor air quality.
Poor indoor air quality during the first stage of the building renovation had significant financial consequences due to the need to redesign installations and the non-use of studios during construction work.
Veolia’s support to Radio France is ongoing as the companies work together to ensure a good indoor air quality at the Maison de la Radio.