Capture d’écran, le 2023-01-27 à 11.54.47
Publié 02/02/2023
Air quality: Are you comfortable in your office?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) problems result from interactions between building materials and furnishings, activities inside the building, climate, and building occupants.

According to the Canadian Committee on Indoor Air Quality and Buildings, a healthy indoor environment is one that contributes to productivity, comfort, and a sense of health and well-being. Good IAQ will include air that: 

  • Is free from unacceptable levels of contaminants, such as chemicals and related products, gases, vapors, dusts, molds, fungi, bacteria, odors, etc. 
  • Provides a comfortable indoor environment, including temperature, humidity, air circulation, sufficient supply of outdoor air, etc. 

To maintain acceptable air quality, a workplace must maintain sanitation and quickly recognize and correct water-related problems. Maintaining good air quality requires effort from building staff and occupants.

What are the potential issues?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is an important health and safety issue in the workplace.

Elements that can have a negative impact on indoor air quality include: 

  • Inadequate or poorly maintained heating and ventilation systems.
  • Contamination from construction materials, glues, fiberglass, particle board, paints, chemicals, etc.
  • The increase in the number of occupants of a building and the number of hours spent indoors

When the indoor air is not of good quality, there can be certain problems. First, there may be an increase in health problems and, in rare cases, more serious health problems (e.g. carbon monoxide poisoning). Here are some symptoms that may be experienced:

  • Dryness and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and skin
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness
  • Hypersensitivity and allergies
  • Sinus congestion
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

In general, people become aware of their symptoms after several hours at work, and feel better after leaving the building or after a weekend or vacation.

Second, the effects of poor air quality can create absenteeism and lost productivity. Third, it can lead to strained relations between employees and employers.

Air quality : The targets


A high  level of humidity also promotes the growth of mold and bacteria; therefore, ASHRAE recommends that the relative humidity level be kept

below 60% ASHRAE does not recommend a minimum humidity level to ensure the thermal comfort of the occupants, but the dry conditions are known to increase static electricity and cause health problems, such as skin irritation; efforts should therefore be made to maintain a relative humidity above 30%

Carbon dioxide

High concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in offices can be an indirect indicator of poor ventilation and from an accumulation of contaminants. At CO2 levels above 1000 parts per million (ppm), occupants are less satisfied, complain more about poor air quality and experience more physical symptoms. Research indicates that reducing this level to 800 ppm can improve occupant satisfaction and reduce these symptoms.

Air quality : Outside Air Supply Rate

Offices should be sufficiently ventilated with outside air to dilute contaminants and provide oxygen to occupants. The ASHRAE suggested rate is 8.5 L/s/person. It should be considered the absolute minimum, since a rate of 10 L/s/person has been shown to be beneficial for office occupants.

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Table des matières

Capture d’écran, le 2023-01-27 à 11.54.47
Publié 02/02/2023
Air quality: Are you comfortable in your office?

Table des matières