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EVIA discusses the future of ventilation at Indoor Air Quality Summit – Indoor Air Quality & Water Safety 2017

EVIA discusses the future of ventilation at Indoor Air Quality Summit in Birmingham

On 14 September, EVIA’s Technical Secretary Claus Haendel chaired an Indoor Air Quality Summit, organised during this year’s H&V News Indoor Air Quality and Water Safety Conference 2017,in Birmingham. The session was aimed at exchanging views on the next generation of ventilation and its benefits for IAQ. Panelists included Claus Haendel, EVIATechnical Secretary and IAQ Expert, Dr.Fernando Sarce Thomann, KTP Associate and James Berry, Technical manager, both speaking on behalf of the Property CareAssociation, representing the UK property car industry, including sectors such as mould & humidity prevention, damp control, structural waterproofing.

During the session panelists discussed three main topics including the current status of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) both in the UK and at the EU level, as well as the main barriers to further improve IAQ and potential solutions to raise awareness of both decision makers and consumers.

Importanceof approaching IAQ through a holistic view of the building system

ClausHaendel started the session by explaining that IAQ had long been treated as a separate issue to the energy efficiency of buildings, but he stressed that promoting air-tight buildings and imposing stricter energy efficiency requirements for ventilation systems lead to a loss of effectiveness in actually ventilating spaces and safeguarding indoor air quality.

Good IAQ in people’s minds relates to the absence of mould and humidity but he explained that it also relates to the removal a wide range of other pollutants that degrade IAQ, such as CO2, VOCs, NOx or fine dust. That is why it is important to deal with IAQ in a holistic way, not just focusing on the visible effects but on the multiple origins of the problem. This includes the need of regular inspections for ventilation systems but also a clear assessment of all other aspects of the building’s design.

Dr. FernandoSarce added that establishing a diagnosis and collecting data on the use of indoor space is also important to consider to apply measures to improve air quality.

Need to improve installation and focus on existing building stocks

“The system is only as good as the person that installs it”, James Berry explained. All panelists agreed that if ventilation systems are not installed or maintained properly, the effect on IAQ can be drastic. Dr. Fernando Sarce added “we’re treating existing buildings as if they were new, but installing new technology in old buildings will not help improve IAQ, as this does not solve some fundamental issues with the actual building”. Therefore all panelists agreed that while concentrating on new buildings is important for the future of IAQ, upgrading the existing building stock is fundamental to making a difference.

Betterinform consumers of the importance of IAQ

“It’s not just about technology, it’s more about education”, said J. Berry highlighting the fact that technology to improve IAQ already exists, but “people need to understand it” referring not only to designers or installers but consumers. C. Haendel added that there area variety of different approaches to control IAQ, which justifies the need for the industry to provide a simplified understanding of the impact of products or system of products on the quality of indoor air.

All panelists concluded by saying that today the main obstacle for the improvement of IAQ is regulation, which should define an acceptable level of IAQ and ensure that IAQ should be an underlying topic of concern when developing or revising building regulation.