The Importance of Ventilation

There is no denying that the single most effective way to minimise the risk of airborne germs and maximise productivity is to increase the level of ventilation in your building.

Ventilation is often confused with air conditioning. Ventilation is the actual cycle of stale air being replaced by fresh air from outside the building, as opposed to air conditioning which simply cools the air within a space.  It is perhaps alarming to realise that a lot of offices do not comply with basic ventilation requirements, resulting in poor air quality and associated risks.

Ventilation occurs naturally through open windows or mechanically with the drawing of fresh air into the building with ventilation equipment. Both have their place, but the key thing is that there is enough fresh air being brought into the building, based on its use and the number of occupants.

There is allowance within Building Regulations in the UK for buildings with opening windows as a source of ventilation. However, what we often see is that windows are rarely opened, and the air conditioning system just continues to circulate the same stale air! This, coupled with buildings that are ever more air-tight due to the pressure to make them more efficient, is a recipe for poor air quality and this leads to low concentration and poor performance of the workers in this space as well as a heightened risk of spreading airborne germs.

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Rob Tuffin