NIES: 2 – Air quality and comfort

What is air quality? What is comfort? What do you think is important to stay healthy and comfortable at home?

Easy questions, difficult and also personal answers…

Luckily, the rest of the world asked these question before and they where so kind to provide many standards:

Most of the mentioned standards are designed for outdoor environments but I really wanted to list they as indoor and outdoor air quality are pretty much linked to each other…

I found some good read’s about the available standards and how they compare on these website’s:

The folks at KMCControls give us a good descriptions about what IAQ and IEQ really is:

Indoor Air Quality is actually a subset of Indoor Environmental Quality. IAQ focuses on, not surprisingly, air. IAQ is a measure of the building’s interior air in terms of the occupant’s potential health and comfort. Nasty chemical, physical, and biological contaminants can cause symptoms ranging from discomfort to serious illness. Potential contaminants can include things like dust, cigarette smoke, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, radon, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and various other chemical compounds from outgassing of building materials and cleaning supplies. Careful selection of building materials and cleaning agents, as well as having air filters and sufficient ventilation increases air quality. Ideally, the quality of the indoor air should be equal to or even better than that of the air outside the building.
IAQ is about what we breathe. IEQ, more comprehensively, is about what we breathe, see, hear, and feel inside a building. IEQ includes IAQ as well as other physical and psychological aspects of life indoors. IEQ is a measure of multiple aspects of an indoor environment on human health and performance, including indoor air quality, lighting, visual quality, acoustics, and thermal comfort.

And business is booming ladies and gentlemen…

Indoor Comfort

Regarding indoor comfort I could find a lot of websites promising more comfort ass long as you bring them money, preferably whole shipping containers full of it. And most of the information I read was more focused on air quality.

So I focused on US Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ).
This index focuses on 4 main elements:
– Thermal comfort
– Indoor air quality
– Noise levels
– Illumination levels

A lot of the items mentioned under de IEQ index is related to the building methods, design and used materials. Some of it can be changed after the building has been completed, most can not.

More information can be read about this subject on the website of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS). I do recommend to read this if you are interested, as it is to much to bluntly summarize on this website:

Most of the information I read was more focused on air quality.

Reading the provided links and documentation, I am going to focus on 3 main area’s for this project:

  • Indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • Thermal quality
  • Lighting quality

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