Our air is inexhaustible, but there is still room for improvement in the quality of both indoor and outdoor air. How can we achieve this in the Netherlands & Belgium?
Air quality is important, especially inside. “Indoor environment is a nice word for the combination of temperature, air quality, light and sound and acoustics.” In general it is not well with our indoor air quality, but it can certainly be better, even in the office.
Yet many people do not always think about this. “Air is invisible. Except when it does not smell good, when your colleague has eaten a curry meal for example, we notice it, but we often do not smell chemical substances. We do experience them: complaints about ‘dry air’, such as irritated eyes, are caused by these contaminations in the indoor air.
Because the air feels ‘dry’ to the eyes, we think that it is due to too little moisture in the air, not to air pollution. We experience the air quality indirectly, so that investments are not made quickly in good air quality. In that respect, air quality is really a neglected child. “
The chemical culprits that pollute the air are also invisible. The air in the office is often made unhealthy by office equipment, fabrics that come from the floor covering and the furniture. “Notorious emission-rich materials are for example chipboard, paint and poured floor. But chemical emissions can also be released from a furniture and a desk.
You could say that especially with all materials containing liquid chemicals – such as glue – there is a risk of chemical emissions. Ideally, such materials are therefore tested and used only if they do not emit too many chemicals (= low emission). We can also generally state that the longer materials exist, the more harmful substances have evaporated. “
Of course, everyone prefers an emission-poor office building, but the striving for it in the Netherlands and Belgium is sometimes disappointing. That also has to do with a bit of awareness and regulation. In Germany, for example, it is mandatory by law that building materials must be low in emissions, in France every building material is shown how many emissions are released so that you can make a conscious choice for healthy materials.
Short-term effects of non-optimal air quality are irritation symptoms such as irritated eyes, an irritated nose and even asthmatic symptoms. Other complaints have more to do with the experience of the air. Consider, for example, complaints about stale air or odor complaints. Long-term exposure to indoor air pollution such as particulate matter increases the chance of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease later in life.
More ventilation is certainly a solution at the moment that a new office is in the making. When replacing furniture, we recommend to opt for low-emission variants. Low-emission materials can be recognized by an emission mark such as the French A + VOC label, AgBB or Greenguard Gold.
If it concerns an existing building where employees have complaints about too dry air, we advise to check whether the air ducts and filters are clean. Is the office on the highway? “Make sure that the façade is sufficiently airtight and good filters are installed to keep the particulate matter out.” It is so important that you can do your work well in a healthy working environment from day to day, and good indoor air quality is one of the most important ingredients for that. “
But as always, measuring is a prerequisite and we can help you with that, the detection and control of indoor air quality at the office.