Planning and design for the improvement of air quality in the office
As a result of the lockdown and restrictions linked to the pandemic emergency, during recent months we have been forced to stay within enclosed environments for most of our daytime hours.
This has inevitably had certain effects on us and on the locations where we often spend time, offices above all.
Social distancing and the need to reorganise workstations have radically changed the way in which workspaces are experienced, inducing companies to implement new strategies in order to increase their staff’s wellbeing.
Air quality is without doubt one of the factors of greatest significance in this revolution: today, more than ever before, it is important for people’s health, wellness and productivity.
“What is the quality of the air that I breathe in the office?”
This is a very simple question, and the answer can have important effects on our state of physical and mental health.
Whether we are aware of it or not, we spend most of the day in indoor locations – as revealed by, amongst others, a study performed by the World Health Organisation – and this exposes us to air that is potentially from 10 to 50 times more polluted than outdoor air.
The main reason for this is man, through people’s presence and activities, but for office spaces, other causal factors are the quality of building materials, the furnishings, and air treatment systems.
Better air quality = greater productivity
This is the result of a research study by the University of Harvard’s Healthy Buildings programme dedicated to air quality and productivity at the workplace.
By reducing levels of carbon dioxide and removing the toxic chemical substances that are typically found in offices, the researchers revealed an 8% increase in productivity for the participants.
How to reduce air pollution in the office
Working on office interior design and on the reorganisation of workstation layout is the first step in reducing air pollution.
This is followed by the common sense of people working at the company in adopting specific forms of behaviour, such as ensuring an adequate number of air changes.
In addition to these simple operations, there are other best practice actions, such as:
– ensuring that, in interiors with ventilation or air treatment plants, the filters and ventilation ducts are regularly cleaned;
– ensuring that the outlet ducts of ventilation/air treatment plants are not blocked by objects and are oriented in a direction that avoids the flow of air directly towards people;
– ensuring that workplaces are correctly cleaned
This is true for the entire office system in general, but we are all aware that there are interiors more subject to air pollution, such as meeting rooms, and this has become particularly topical during and after the pandemic emergency.
After having been replaced by virtual meetings, now that we are returning to normality, meeting rooms are once again becoming amongst the most important corporate locations for generating new ideas and taking strategic decisions.
The question that we have to ask is therefore: “how can interiors be made healthy and safe?”
Without doubt, designing a meeting room that incorporates a controlled mechanical ventilation (CMV) system can be the most advantageous answer.
The plant has control software, connected to sensors that assess interior air quality. According to the data supplied by the sensors, the CMV system can initiate interior air circulation and filtration.
And in addition, for PERFECT INTERIOR SANITISING, the following can be APPLIED TO THE CMV system:
– plasma ioniser, which destroys viruses and pathogenic agents
– photocatalytic oxidation, which, in addition to destroying bacterial cells, also decomposes them by means of titanium dioxide, more powerful than any other antibacterial agent.
These solutions safeguard the possibility of face-to-face interactions while maintaining “air quality” and an optimally sanitised interior.
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