The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has issued a call, alongside health groups, industry and environmental campaigners, for a new Clean Air Act to be introduced that includes measures to support the role of buildings as safe havens from pollution.
The group includes the likes of the British Lung Foundation, the Royal College of Physicians, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and environmental law firm ClientEarth – and they’re keen to see the UK increase the adoption of electric vehicles as part of giving the country the most ambitious air quality legislation to be found in Europe.
The BESA believes that more could be achieved and quicker if the focus is put on how building occupants could be protected from increasing external pollution, as well as tackling the emissions from transport.
A survey carried out on behalf of the organisation last year revealed that 70 per cent of office workers think poor air quality in their building has a negative impact on their daily productivity and wellbeing. The BESA also has a Guide to Good Practice – Internal Cleanliness of Ventilation System that could be of use, helping companies improve air quality across all building types.
Chief executive of the BESA Paul McLaughlin said: “People spend more than 80 per cent of their time indoors and there is still a lot more we can do to improve indoor air quality. A series of low cost maintenance measures to ensure ventilation systems work properly and incoming air is filtered and cleaned would make a major difference to the health and wellbeing of building occupants.
“Reducing toxic emissions from vehicles and industrial processes is vital, but will take many years to produce results and involve major long-term investment. Improving building ventilation is a quick and relatively painless process that can be tackled today to help protect people in the meantime.”
This comes as the European commission sends the UK a final warning to make sure the country stays within EU air pollution limits for nitrogen dioxide or face answering serious questions at the European court of justice. According to the Guardian, if the UK fails to show it the country plans to comply with EU law in just two months, heavy fines could be imposed as early as this year.
Labour party environmental lead in the European parliament Seb Dance told the news source that if the threat of legal action and big fines aren’t enough now, what will convince the government to take action once the UK leaves the EU?
There are many ways you can improve indoor air quality, whether it’s by using custom filter housings, using air-filtering plants, keeping the humidity between 30 per cent and 50 per cent, or by making ventilation improvements. Opening windows and doors, using attic fans or using a window air conditioner with the vent control open will all help to make your building a healthier place in which to work.