Hong Kong’s Poor Indoor Air Quality

A Hong Kong office indoor air quality survey released last week reminds us the office environment has improved little over the years, the findings show 27% of those surveyed report bad indoor office environment.

Background
In the early 80’s the phrase poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) came to forefront. Many reasons were cited as the explanation for the degrading office environment, the most likely culprit being the energy crisis. Dramatically increasing fuel costs encouraged building owners to use frugal quantities of outdoor air impacting the air quality. One result, a whole new range of terminology emerged including tight building, building related illness, sick buildings, and Sick Building syndrome.

The quantity of the Outdoor Air (OA) is obviously important, particularly in the regions with high humidity, causing a significant latent load. However, the source of the air is also critical, drawing Outdoor Air from a polluted source drags particulate matter and chemical pollutants into the office air.

Solutions
If there is one solution, we must recognise that Green Building assessments including BEAM, recognises the importance of the indoor environment and the impact on productivity. BEAM Plus allocates 32 credit points to the indoor quality environment aspect. Furthermore it shows us that energy efficient HVAC solutions are needed to ensure the right quantity of clean Outdoor Air is provided when needed.

– John Herbert, consultant, Kelcroft