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Indoor environment quality

Date Added: 21/05/2010 Last Updated: 21/05/2010
The information in this article could be out-of-date or no longer relevant.

Indoor environment quality can have a significant impact on the health, wellbeing and satisfaction of a building's occupants. This, in turn, affects worker productivity, sick days taken and staff retention.

Simple solutions

  • Grow a green thumb! Indoor plants can contribute to a healthy and positive work environment. Plants reduce airborne concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), release moisture into the air, and absorb heat and noise. Plants have even been known to increase worker productivity. One US study found that productivity increased 12 percent when people performed tasks in a room with plants.
  • Clean green. Green cleaning products can minimise health risks to building maintenance workers, improve indoor air quality and reduce water pollution. By switching to green alternatives, you can reduce the levels of VOCs in your office environment. And by choosing reusable packaging, you'll save on waste to landfill.

Interior green fitouts

  • Conduct regular maintenance and audits. Common biological pollutants such as mould, mildew, dust mites and cockroach are often developed as a result of excessive moisture. Your building should be well maintained, with air conditioners, air ducts, vents and heaters regularly serviced and cleaned.

Major refurbishments

  • Choose green materials. Building materials, furnishings and finishes are some of the largest contributors to indoor air pollution. Avoid VOCs found in many new paints, rubber underlays, floorboard treatments, kitchen cabinets, foam cushions and furnishings. Synthetic chemical compounds used in glues, resins, stain treatments, dyes and many building materials that will off-gas into the indoor air to a great degree in the first 8 weeks and continue to a lesser degree for years.
  • Clear the air! Implementing systems and measures that promote healthy indoor environments such as increased outside air rates, carbon dioxide monitoring, good levels of daylight, reduction of glare, thermal comfort, individual comfort control and reduction of airborne pollutants can support the health and wellbeing of a building's occupants for years to come.