Poor indoor air quality in offices directly influences the well-being of workers, reducing their performance. An unsuitable environment can cause health problems, increasing absenteeism from work. It can be due to various factors such as poor ventilation, humidity, use of cleaning products, among others.
This can be addressed by renewing the air in occupied spaces continuously during business hours and two hours before and after the activity and implementing filtration stages to maintain good indoor air quality. It is advisable to keep the extraction of premises such as toilets or changing rooms, permanently active.
One of the main pollutants in hotels is carbon dioxide, in addition to carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, ozone, and various pathogens. All these elements can cause discomfort, fatigue or allergies.
The temperature of spaces, relative humidity and air speed are physical factors that affect the quality of the environment. Correct ventilation and good control of the air conditioning system are essential to maintain optimal air quality within hotels.
The environmental quality of educational centres directly affects the health and academic performance of children. Children are much more likely to be affected by indoor air pollution.
Since children breathe a greater volume of air compared to an adult, they expel more CO2 and accumulate a greater load of pollutants.
In general, these buildings do not have an air conditioning system, there are only heating and ventilation installations. Poor indoor air quality can lead to health problems such as asthma or allergies and lack of care and assistance. For this reason, it is necessary to maximize, as far as possible, the supply of outside air to maintain acceptable CO2 levels. It is advisable to maintain continuous air exchange throughout the period of use.
High air quality is necessary for buildings for food production and distribution, given the high-quality standards to which they are subject.
To maintain the well-being of the workers and the good condition of the products, strict temperature and humidity levels must be maintained, as well as continuous ventilation, renewing the air by providing the necessary amount from outside. This requires adequate control of the facilities and high-efficiency filtration systems to regulate the concentrations of particles in the environment.
Hospital centres, clinics and Primary Care Centers
The quality of the environments in hospitals and clinics must guarantee and provide the thermal comfort and hygiene necessary to guarantee the health of users and workers.
The air conditioning and ventilation system in these buildings must be capable of minimizing the level of polluting agents harmful to the occupants’ health. Special attention should be paid to the maintenance and inspection of these facilities.
Disinfecting and purifying the air is necessary given the large influx of patients with different pathologies and to protect people especially vulnerable to pollutants.
Older people, due to age and associated diseases, are more vulnerable to pollutants, which is why it is very important to maintain a good quality of the indoor environment in geriatric centres and residences.
A good air conditioning and ventilation system, and its correct regulation, is essential to ensure user comfort and maintain the necessary air renewals to maintain optimal indoor air quality.
The cleaning and maintenance of these facilities are especially important to avoid causing sudden changes in temperature or unwanted drafts.
Museums, theatres and entertainment venues
The high influx of visitors in these types of buildings facilitates the proliferation of harmful agents and particles that negatively affect the indoor air.
It is necessary to adequately control the ventilation system, as well as the levels of pollutants in the environment, to ensure the well-being of the occupants and, in the case of museums or exhibition halls, to avoid the deterioration of works of art. Therefore, it is also important to maintain a suitable temperature and humidity.
Gyms and sports centres
In buildings where high-intensity physical activities are carried out, odours and environmental pollutants such as CO2, CO and formaldehyde dust are very present. That is why it is necessary to implement good ventilation and maintain an adequate amount of air changes.
Due to the large occupation of these spaces and the activity carried out in them, it is also necessary to carry out effective control of the temperature and humidity of the rooms to maintain the comfort of the users. It will be necessary to maintain the ventilation of the spaces during all the activity and before and after to ensure a clean environment.
In these buildings, large numbers of people are concentrated and different types of activities are carried out such as restaurants, cafes, shops, among others. This causes high levels of pollutants such as odours, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, etc. to be generated. These elements can cause harmful effects for people such as respiratory problems, allergies, among others.
It is necessary to implement adequate air treatment systems in each case to generate a comfortable climate for people and minimize the concentration levels of polluting elements in the environment.
The main pollutant that we can find in homes is carbon dioxide, which can reach concentration levels of more than double than outside. CO2 can be very harmful to people’s health, so it is essential to maintain good ventilation that allows clean air to enter from outside.
Opening the windows can be a good option at certain times of the year, but it is not a permanent solution. To achieve this, heat recuperators are used that, in addition to renewing the volume of air inside the building, recover energy from the airflow, complying with sustainability standards. The use of rotary recuperators is not recommended as there is the possibility of contamination due to the crossing of airflows. In the case of plate recuperators, their tightness must be checked.
Together with a good airtightness of the building, an optimal indoor environment quality is achieved.
Transport sector: buses and rail
In train, metro and bus stations, it is increasingly necessary to improve the quality of the indoor environment due to their location, whether they are underground or not, the occupation they receive and the increasing traffic of trains and buses. In these buildings, apart from humidity and temperature, suspended particles must be controlled.
Ventilation during occupancy hours must be continuous. During non-occupancy hours, it is advisable to maintain a minimum of the nominal ventilation flow.
Until now, no special attention has been paid to the quality of the air inside the wagons, where high concentrations of CO2, suspended particles and VOCs can accumulate due to the people and materials used. This needs to change as users spend most of their time inside.
At airports, there are different types of sources of indoor air pollution. The high concentration of people and the construction materials used can significantly increase the levels of CO2 and volatile organic matter. Another source of pollutants are the hostelry and restaurant establishments that are located inside the airports. These spaces must have independent ventilation and smoke extraction systems.
Air traffic and other activities carried out outside these buildings also affect the quality of the interior environment.
For this reason, it is necessary that the ventilation system is capable of providing a sufficient air renewal rate and that it has an efficient filtration system.
Indoor air quality in industrial buildings and warehouses can be affected by vehicle traffic, the accumulation of stored raw materials, a poor ventilation system and other processes that may be carried out.
To ensure that the health of the people who work in these buildings is not impaired and that the quality of the materials stored remains intact, it is necessary to carry out proper maintenance of the facilities and proper cleaning of the workspaces.
Due to the different production processes, types of materials used and machinery, large amounts of pollutants can accumulate that can affect the health of workers, and indirectly the economy of the company since they can produce sick leave due to illnesses associated with poor air quality, thus reducing productivity and increasing costs.
To avoid this, ventilation systems must be designed according to the needs of each type of industrial activity and carry out exhaustive periodic maintenance.
In general, buildings built before the approval of the RITE (prior to RD 1751/1998), will not have mechanical ventilation systems, so it is recommended to open accessible windows to facilitate ventilation. In toilet areas and dirty spaces, the installation of mechanical ventilation systems is recommended.