07 June 2023
The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) is marking this year’s national Clean Air Day (CAD) by launching a new approach to indoor air quality (IAQ) training.
The theme of CAD #CleanAirDay on June 15 is Clean up our air to look after your mind which is designed to draw attention to the impact poor air quality can have on mental health as well as physical well-being.
BESA’s IAQ group has produced a series of guides and has been promoting the concept of the building as a ‘safe haven’ from polluted outside air for some years. As well as the training, it will unveil a new set of guides focused on the serious health crisis caused by damp and mould in homes and several affiliate members will give presentations on the latest developments in clean air technology and IAQ best practice.
“The pandemic shone a spotlight on the role of ventilation in making indoor spaces safer and healthier and England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty subsequently called for IAQ monitoring to become ‘standard practice’,” said the group’s chair Nathan Wood.
“Scientists have also begun publishing more evidence around the impact of polluted air on mental health and brain conditions – including links to depression, anxiety, and dementia. When we breathe polluted air, particles can enter our blood stream and reach the brain.”
BESA said it would use the platform provided by CAD to reinforce its messages to contractors, developers, designers, manufacturers, builders, occupiers, and maintenance engineers about how they can act positively on buildings and their systems to improve occupant comfort, health, and well-being – and strengthen their businesses in the process.
The association also wants to step up pressure on the government to be more ambitious in its target setting for reducing air pollution, which currently lags behind the latest WHO Air Quality Guidelines.
BESA’s online IAQ Awareness Course will provide an introduction for anyone interested in the subject and for people with some working knowledge but who are keen to learn more to help them make better informed decisions. The short online course explains the importance of IAQ, the main airborne contaminants that affect buildings, their sources, and the impact on the indoor environment caused by outdoor pollution.
It is not designed to lead to a technical qualification but will help anyone who needs to put together an IAQ strategy for their building and be more aware of the threats to health, well-being and productivity posed by poor air quality.