Sick Building Syndrome – what is it and what threats does it pose?
One condition in particular that has garnered much attention recently is Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). Despite research dating back to the 1970’s, no single cause has been found for it. Nevertheless, poorly designed buildings and materials have had a significant impact on the health and well-being of occupants.
It has been estimated that SBS generally affects between 30 and 50% of new and refurbished buildings. Some of the symptoms of SBS are:
- Poor concentration
- Shortness of breath
- Eye and throat irritation
With this in mind, it’s important to note that poor ventilation caused by not opening windows or badly designed mechanical systems are some of the main causes for SBS.
By all means, healthier employees have been found to be more productive and more engaged in the workplace. Given that the health of workers is essential to their productivity, strategies that help individuals perform at their best have a strong correlation to the economic performance of an organisation.
SBS affects us daily
We spend most of our time inside buildings.
It is estimated that people in developed countries spend at least 90% of their time indoors. This means that in our day to day lives, most of us spend very little time outdoors. The problem in less developed countries is even more critical, where 3 billion people burn solid fuels for energy purposes. Moreover, a recent world health report estimated that indoor air pollution was responsible for 2.7% of global disease.
Although specifying the correct building materials for internal spaces is a hot topic in construction, an emphasis needs to be put on harnessing natural elements to improve our everyday interiors. Without a doubt, the careful introduction and control of fresh air can significantly improve our lives and well-being.
How can Sick Building Syndrome be prevented?
A simple answer is to improve ventilation. An indoor climate control system in particular monitors temperature, humidity and CO2 levels inside a building. As soon as it registers an unwanted change, it uses automatic ventilation to open or close windows accordingly. Alternatively, allowing buildings to ‘breathe’ at night or day may be another option. By ‘breathe’ we mean windows are opened during the night in summer to allow the building to cool and then closed once the desired room temperature has been reached.
Group SCS’s AOV Kits are a great option for indoor climate control. Not only that, they can also protect the residents of a building in the case of a fire. Our range of automatic opening vent kits offers a variety of options that ensure the smoke control needs of a building are met, as well as provide daily ventilation.