Indoor air quality can affect health

 -  -  4



Varun Pahwa

Advertisement

Come the festive season and the media are full of stories on the drastic air pollution that envelops our cities, especially the capital. The smog is a deadly cocktail of dust, vehicle exhaust, and smoke from the surrounding countryside where farmers set fire to stubble in their fields to prepare for the next crop. Meanwhile, not much attention is paid to the quality of air inside offices, residential complexes, schools, hospitals where people spend the bulk of their day.

Recent studies have shown that poor indoor air quality can have a deleterious impact on a person’s physical and psychological wellness. 

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the nature of the conditioned (Heat/Cool) air that circulates throughout space/area where we work and live   i.e. the air we breathe during most of our lives.  

With research clearly indicating that we spend 90 % of our time indoors and the growing scientific evidence that the air indoor is almost 10 to 100 times more polluted than outside, the risk to health is much greater indoors than outdoors. As we spend more and more time indoors ,mostly in centrally conditioned spaces like our offices,commercial areas ,etc . it is important to pay attention to the quality of conditioned air inside , 

Sources of indoor pollution include particulate matter such as dust and various physical impurities as also complex organic emissions from electrical and electronic equipment, paints, varnishes, chemicals from cleaning agents. Unattended, indoor air pollution can affect the productivity of the occupants in an enclosed conditioned space.

In India, traditional buildings were pretty much open to the environment, which was nowhere near as polluted as it is today. However, as the economy picked up with reforms and liberalization, the need arose for modern climate-controlled interiors; additionally, enlightened government regulations began to specify standards of occupational health and safety for residences, offices, institutions

As outdoor air quality began to dominate public debate, the need for monitoring and handling pollution became paramount. Interestingly, attention also has turned to the management and control of interior environments. Indoor conditioned spaces can broadly be segmented as residential and commercial. In the residential spaces, people are purchasing stand-alone small air purifiers to combat air pollution indoors. However, most of us spend long ours at our offices and other such spaces and thus, it very important to have a centrally managed air purifier in such places as it is not only the outdoor air which is polluted but the indoor air adds to pollutants as large number of people and equipment are working indoors and each contributing to contaminants.

Thus, the most important aspect of the focus on the indoors was the realization that systems design needed to go beyond merely cooling to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Often known by its acronym, HVAC goes beyond providing thermal comfort to ensuring acceptable indoor air quality.

HVAC systems use desiccant technology, which is the key to energy saving and filtering out the contaminates. Energy saving is achieved by recovering the waste energy for conditioning systems to precondition the outdoor air coming in through the conditioning systems and the air purification is through centralized air purification systems working in sync or integrated with whole HVAC  systems. One of the major benefits of technology is the reduction in tonnage required for a given space with a concomitant reduction in the use of energy and utility costs. As such, it fits the bill as a sustainable green technology that incorporates a concern of climate change, a crucial new awareness that seeks to limit the emission of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, that is responsible for the phenomenon known as global warming.

Global warming, used interchangeably with climate change, refers to rise over time in the average temperatures caused mainly by human activities including industrialization, transportation, and consumption. Effects of global warming include changes in precipitation patterns, rise in sea levels, extreme weather including droughts, floods, wildfires, and famines. 

Apart from setting up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, political leaders of more than a hundred nations have come together to mull a long term response to this looming disaster. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, representatives of 196 state entities met in Paris December 2018 to adopt measures to mitigate the impact of global warming. Called the Paris Agreement, the pact seeks to limit the rise in global average temperatures to below two degrees Celsius. Plus each participant has agreed to a set of specific country goals. 

The adaptation and financing of measures to mitigate the adverse effect of climate change is truly remarkable. They have devolved not just to specific nations but further, to industrial sectors and services. The effort to control indoor air quality is a small but vital part of the global effort to combat the disruptions of climate change. 

It is a matter of pride for us that today India is providing stand alone as well as fully integrated conditioning systems with energy recovery and air purification systems with the most concurrent technologies available worldwide not only in India but also, worldwide including the developed world.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.



via TOI Blog

4 recommended
comments icon 0 comments
0 notes
bookmark icon