Indoor Environmental Quality

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Buildings breathe.

And their respiration affects indoor environmental quality and the health and comfort of everyone inside.

Architects and building owners are beginning to realize that healthier and more comfortable building occupants are happier and more productive. As a result, many of today’s sustainable building designs take the issue of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) that includes comfort into consideration. To achieve IEQ designers focus on comfort from four different perspectives:

  • Thermal comfort
  • Visual comfort
  • Acoustical comfort, and
  • Indoor Air Quality

There are six factors to consider when evaluating the conditions for optimal thermal comfort. A robust analysis will include measuring:

  • Air temperature
  • Relative humidity
  • Surface temperatures that influence radiation
  • Occupant’s personal metabolic rates
  • Amount of clothing worn by occupants
  • Air speed across body surfaces

Visual comfort is part practical and part aesthetic. It employs such strategies as artificial lighting, day lighting and creating visually interesting environments.

Acoustical control is another method of enhancing occupant comfort that is currently receiving attention in the design community. Creating superior acoustical environments in open plan office spaces, healthcare facilities and schools to improve speech intelligibility and privacy is the primary goal.

Improving indoor air quality (IAQ) is a subtle balance of proper ventilation rates, managing volatile organic compounds, air temperature, humidity levels, water and light.

IAQ requirements are addressed in specific standards that spell out minimum ventilation rates for new construction, as well as information on improving IAQ in existing buildings. They also provide lists of maximum contaminant levels for those spaces to maintain acceptable IAQ, which in turn minimizes the potential for adverse health effects on building occupants.

Through our videos, articles, white papers, educational presentations and literature you will better understand the design practices and standards available to improve a buildings indoor environmental quality, including:

  • The key factors affecting thermal comfort
  • Ways to improve indoor air quality through controlled ventilation and material selection
  • How to create superior acoustical environments through sound control design practices
  • Design strategies that help create a high quality visual environment