Indoor Air Quality – ISHRAE Technical Standpoint

Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) refers to the quality of the air inside buildings. This is determined by factors such as indoor air quality, thermal comfort, lighting quality, acoustic conditions, as well as furniture and space layout. An article shared by the Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) reported that we breathe on average 12,000L of air every day.
Monika Agarwal

Further, the ISHRAE article also reported that it’s vital for us to breathe good quality air as it’s imperative for us to eat clean food and drink clean water. So, while the food & water we consume goes through a thorough check before consumption, the air we breathe sadly does not. And while the air quality outside had recently peaked to ‘severe’, there’s no good way to tell whether the air we breathe inside our homes is clean or not.

Research has shown that the pollutants present in our homes have a clear link with productivity, sense of well being and occupant health. In the long term, they lead to asthma, allergies and severe headaches. Understanding the need of the hour, ISHRAE is committed to increase awareness about the importance of the Indoor Environment Quality and its impact on human health. In fact, ISHRAE has been highlighting the importance of IEQ in buildings, since the design and operation of HVAC systems in buildings can significantly expose occupants to air pollution.

An article shared by ISHRAE highlighted few significant findings from a report drafted by Central Building Research Institute. These were:

Indian building occupants are more adaptive and tolerant of higher temperatures during the summer conditions than predicted under the PMV model.

Indians are found to be more comfortable over a larger range of air velocity.

Additionally, high tolerance for humidity was also found, especially in warm and humid climatic zones.

Based on these findings, ISHRAE continues to stand firm in its position regarding the Indian Air Quality. This includes:
Controlling contaminants at the source is the most important activity to improve air quality. Purification of the outdoor air before being supplied to buildings is an important factor in balancing the IEQ.

Good construction and installation practices, low emission operation and maintenance is important to improve IAQ.

Wherever outdoor air quality does not meet the national AQI, emphasis should be put on ventilation and filtration.

ISHRAE recognises the value of gaining direct feedback from occupants to understand the occupant satisfaction and experience of IEQ aspects.

ISHRAE needs to increase the general awareness of health effects of poor IEQ and relevant solutions to improve it among public and building professionals.

In this regard, Vikram Murthy President of ISHRAE said, “ISHRAE has recognised that the issue of indoor environment quality needs urgent attention of designers, operators and building owners. We have also identified the necessary extensive field studies that cover different building types, locations, age groups and work profiles. Such studies should be conducted following the international protocols for measurements of IEQ parameters, transport methodology of analysis and finally validation of research findings.”

The Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE), was founded in 1981 at New Delhi by a group of eminent HVAC&R professionals. ISHRAE today has more than 28,000 HVAC&R professionals and Student-members. ISHRAE operates from 43 Chapters and sub Chapters spread all over India, with HQ in Delhi. It is led by a team of elected officers, who are members of the Society, working on a voluntary basis, and collectively called the Board of Governors.

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