Sustainable ways of improving indoor air quality

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Sustainable ways of improving indoor air quality

Saturday, 25 November 2023 | Rahul Aeron

The Green Buildings proficiently employ sustainable strategies to harness renewable energy to curtail pollution

With the pollution shrouding the sky in shades of sepia, the plummeting state of the Air Quality Index (AQI) remains to be a matter of concern. When people are trying to protect themselves from the alarming air pollution outside, it comes as a surprise to them that Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is also susceptible to pollution.

The IAQ is more contaminated as compared to the outdoor air. The major factor contributing to the deterioration of indoor air quality is the inability of the air to find an escape outside. Conventional buildings leave no space for ventilation, and at the same time, being constructed making use of synthetic material adds to the pollution of the air within the enclosed space. The worst affected are commercial and industrial spaces such as offices, schools, workplaces, airports, and hotels, to name a few, which are inherently plagued by tight and complex structures. Such spaces are generally crowded by a large number of people, which further contributes to the already deteriorating state of the air inside the room.

Here, it is important to note that failing to address the poor IAQ can lead to a plethora of health issues ranging from headaches to eye irritation, fatigue, chronic coughing, and allergic reactions among the occupants. In certain cases, prolonged exposure to poor IAQ can lead to the development of a phenomenon called Sick Building Syndrome.

Looking at the health repercussions such as breathing issues, lethargy, pain in the eye, and headaches arising from poor IAQ, it is imperative to ensure ventilation of the space to exercise improved environmental benefits along with public health. Moreover, the tight building structures, lacking fresh air, can invariably interfere with the concentration and productivity of the occupants. To curb this, industry players are continuously on the lookout for innovative solutions concerning the designs of the buildings. As a result, they are actively adopting sustainable architecture in the form of Green Building to address the issue of poor IAQ while curtailing the adverse effects of construction on the environment. The building provides innovative solutions for a more sustainable approach to improving IAQ.

The Green Buildings proficiently employ sustainable strategies to harness renewable energy to curtail pollution. At the same time, it also strives to increase the energy efficiency of the building. Minimising energy consumption in combination with the utilization of renewable resources, plays a crucial role in substantially addressing the issue of climate change. This significantly contributes to reducing the carbon footprint in the environment. The advanced buildings make use of green products ranging from highly efficient chillers to systems-enhancing drives on motors, and highly proficient fans, to name a few, which significantly decrease the pressure on the HVAC systems. In the process, the buildings squeeze the consumption of energy while achieving the required heating/ cooling of the premises. Utilising highly durable, recyclable, and renewable resources, the buildings are adept at reducing the depletion of natural resources.

Such smart buildings ensure sustainability not just during the construction period but also go a long way in integrating eco-efficiency throughout the life of the building. They employ highly resilient technologies in confluence with innovative and advanced designs to enable ventilation, energy recovery, and humidity control. In addition to this, by accommodating mechanical ventilation systems into the design, it supports a continuous supply of fresh air into the building. The alignment of the structure is in such a way that it allows for a minimum separation distance between clean and contaminated air to check the fusion of fresh air with polluted air. In the entire process, it addresses the issue of moisture in the space and consequently checks the growth of mould and mildew. On the whole, the innovative structures are adept at maintaining the hygiene of the building efficiently. All the factors together contri. Considering that Green Buildings are the way forward to achieve improved air quality within a building that too sustainably, such buildings must comply with UN SDG goals to conform to international environmental standards. Likewise, it is advisable to get the buildings certified by prominent institutions, namely, ASSOCHAM, ECBC, LEED, and Indian Green Building Council, to ensure that the building is in alignment with the council guidelines and framework for the reduction of carbon footprints.

As the world is continuously working towards reducing the degradation of the environment, it is expected that Zero-energy buildings will be in demand shortly. By encouraging affordable, reliable, and sustainable access to energy, they can bring about a breakthrough transformation in the way urban spaces are built and managed. They are at the forefront of supporting a resilient and innovative infrastructure that is aimed at achieving sustainable cities and communities.

(The writer is Vice President, Desiccant Rotors International Pvt. Ltd, views are personal)

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