Improving Internal Air Quality : what’s the solution?
Olympus Air Solutions
From an HVAC point of view, what can be done to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) and the comfort conditions within a building?
Usually the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate individual sources of pollution, or to reduce their emissions. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in many cases, source control is also a more cost‑efficient approach to protecting indoor air quality than increasing ventilation, as the latter would increase energy costs.
But source control isn’t always possible and you have to look at your building’s HVAC system to improve the IAQ. Alec Johannsen, local consulting engineer and IAQ expert advises that this is generally done through adequate fresh air quantity, as well as good control of temperature, relative humidity (where required) and air movement.
That's where the standards — not just in South Africa — contradict one another. On the one side, SANS 10400‑O calls for more fresh air, whereas SANS 10400‑XA calls for reduced energy. But it cannot always just be about energy.
So, what can you do? “Since increasing ventilation would also increase energy consumption, a greater use of controls is needed to adjust the ventilation rates in relation to the CO2 and occupancy levels,” advises Johannsen.