INDOOR ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) defines indoor air quality as the totality of attributes of indoor air that affect a person's health and well-being. It is generally recognised that we spend 90% or more of our time in an indoor environment. Research on wellbeing and indoor environments have shown that poor indoor environmental quality can result in significant adverse impacts on our health and environment. Additionally, these impacts carry a significant cost burden to the economy with the CSIRO estimating the cost to be as high as $12 billion annually.
Indoor environmental quality can be adversely impacted by pollutants such as mould, microbial contamination, dust/particulates and volatile chemicals. Sources of indoor air pollution include:
Building materials, carpets and furnishings
Home renovation activities such as painting
Perfumed personal care products (e.g. soaps, shampoos), air fresheners and cleaning products
Home office devices such as printers and photocopiers
Heating and cooling systems
Fuel-burning devices for heating or cooking
Indoor pollutants are not naturally removed by the processes that occur outdoors, such as wind and rain. Chemical reactions to break down indoor air pollutants do still occur, but at slower rates than outdoors. This is because these reactions rely on the production of oxidants under the influence of light, and there is less direct sunlight within an indoor built environment. The chemical breakdown of some indoor pollutants can create other pollutants, such as VOCs breaking down to produce ozone and fine particles.
Buildings that are more energy-efficient often recirculate air, which limits the amount of fresh air entering the building and can trap pollutants inside for longer. Adequate air flow and appropriately designed ventilation within an indoor environment plays a crucial factor in the quality of the indoor air.
AARCO Environmental Solutions have qualified, industry-recognised and experienced investigators with local and interstate experience in performing indoor environmental quality assessments (commercial, residential, industrial) for a wide range of industries including within government buildings, schools and educational facilities, worker accommodation units, and various office buildings.
Indoor Environmental Quality Assessment
A typical indoor environmental quality assessment would include basic thermal comfort parameters such as temperature and humidity, through to atmospheric contaminants such as Carbon monoxide, Carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds and dust particulates.
Together with lux measurements, a broad range of air quality parameters can be assessed with real time instrumentation to detail potential variations in building air quality and provide practical advice and solutions in relation to treatment and elimination of indoor environmental issues.
An assessment of HVAC systems can also be conducted to review opportunities for improvements in indoor air quality. For occupant complaint and odour issues, a mixture of physical, chemical and biological assessment and monitoring may be employed to identify and determine the cause of the complaint with recommendations developed for its remediation.