Efficient building performance and good Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) contributes to user well-being & health and sustainability of buildings. Periodic User Satisfaction Survey and real-time Indoor Air Quality Measurement are the appropriate ways to follow-up the sustainability . If there is a deviation from the key performance target values or the users are not satisfied, HVAC system performance and walk-through audits should be carried out. These audits are needed to find out reasons for poor IEQ and problems in HVAC system performance. The results give a basis for planning and implementing suggested improvements.
Ventilation and Air-Conditioning system performance together with other mechanical services have an important role in providing healthy environment for occupants. Especially sufficient ventilation with appropriate filtration can reduce the risk of humans being infected by indoor pollutions like TB or COVID-19.
The indoor environmental conditions, building performance and technical challenges need to be the prime areas of focus during the pre-design. Targets shall be set for indoor air quality, thermal comfort, lighting and acoustic conditions. For example, ISHRAE Indoor Environmental Quality standard 10001 is a good tool for that.
Concept design phase is the right time to focus on sustainability and Indoor Environmental Quality. Targets for IEQ needs to be set together with the energy and environmental performance targets of building. Depending on the building design, different solutions are used to ensure desired result. The HVAC design and contractors’ submittals needs to be reviewed in order to ensure the correct component sizing and selection. The result needs to be validated with IAQ measurements and user satisfaction surveys during commissioning.
IEQ and Energy Audits
Indoor environmental quality can be improved in every existing building. Work starts with a comprehensive audit of ventilation and AC systems as well as by measuring the indoor air quality. Once the current problems have been identified, targets need to be set and required changes in system operation and equipment will be designed.
We can offer other audits related to the indoor environment and system performance. We can conduct an energy audit (e.g. based on the BEE energy audit guidelines) together with the HVAC system performance audit. Indoor air quality audit can be expanded to the other elements of indoor environment that are important for building user or owner, like thermal comfort, acoustics and lighting.
Whenever, any institution is planning to move to a new location, it is recommended that IEQ Due Diligence is carried out. Such due diligence enables the company to specify desired IAQ conditions in the contract with the builders / owners and to specify the changes needed before space is being occupied.
It is important to ensure that Indoor Air Quality in buildings is maintained as specified. The maintenance of air filters is extremely important. The right kind of filters and regular maintenance activities can increase the life cycle of the most expensive filters and therefore reduce the filtration cost. Part of the preventive maintenance is to regularly follow-up the user feedback and measure indoor air quality. Operation and Maintenance team needs regular training of system operation and maintenance activities. We can prepare a comprehensive maintenance plan that takes into account all the parameters described above.
We can develop together with a client the management system to maintain good indoor environmental conditions, improve energy and environmental efficiency and reduce life time costs. IEQ Management process consists of several areas like:
- IEQ and energy metering & measurements;
- Annual operational reviews and planning;
- Building maintenance management system;
- Handling of day-to-day user feedback;
- Creation of IEQ management team;
- Deciding key performance indicators and targets.