Overcoming sick building syndrome with a fresh air solution
19th November 2019
The notion of sick buildings and sick building syndrome (SBS) isn’t anything new, it’s been on the radar of facilities managers since the nineties and is widely considered to be a thing of the past. However, new research carried out by the Remark Group show’s SBS might be on the rise.
What is SBS?
SBS is what you call the symptoms you get when you are in a particular building and is most commonly associated with offices. With SBS the symptoms get worse whilst you’re in the building and then ease after you leave. Symptoms can include headaches, dry, itchy eyes and skin, tiredness and even rashes.[i]
According to HSE, the causes of SBS are:
“Physical or environmental factors – covering physical conditions, eg. ventilation, cleaning and maintenance, and workstation layout;
Job factors – such as the variety and interest of particular jobs and people’s ability to control certain aspects of their work and working environment.”[ii]
wellbeing of employees has been a subject of growing importance in the last few
years, with a greater focus on mental health, however, the importance of
healthy buildings and the impact this on workplace wellbeing has been somewhat
overlooked. This is certainly something that new research from Remark Group’s
Air Quality and Wellbeing at Work Survey 2019 suggests.
Air Quality and Wellbeing
The study carried out by Remark Group focused very much on air quality within the workplace and its impact on a person’s productivity and wellbeing. It was found that “today’s office environments can drain happiness, health and even productivity but ensuring that air quality is regulated can reduce symptoms such as headaches, fatigue and eye irritation, while increasing productivity and general wellbeing.”[iii]
analysing the findings of the study the FMJ reported that: “80 per cent
think that poor indoor air quality could be having a negative impact on their
health with the same amount reporting it could be having a similar effect on
their productivity at work. Furthermore, 57 per cent think air quality is
affecting their mental/physical health”.[iv]
A Fresh Solution
The correlation between poor air quality and the negative effect on the wellbeing and productivity of employees is clear. There is a need for every workplace to have suitable ventilation, outdoor air supply and air movement. HSE explains that there should be a minimum fresh-air flow within a building so that the buildup of CO2 isn’t unhealthy.[v] By introducing fresh air, you cut down the amount of CO2, which is a key element in good air quality.
Here at EcoCooling, we manufacture evaporative cooling units that are installed as part of a mechanical ventilation system, which helps to keep the air in buildings moving and fresh, as well as cool throughout the warmer months. The use of fresh air makes the EcoCooler the ideal solution for buildings in which improving and maintaining air quality is crucial including gyms and factories.
Explore the case studies below to see how EcoCooler’s have helped to create more ‘healthy’ buildings.
[i] NHS., (2017). Sick building syndrome [online]. NHS. [Viewed 12 November 2019]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sick-building-syndrome/
[ii] HSE., (2000). How to deal with sick building syndrome (SBS): Guidance for employers, building owners and building managers [online]. Norwich: The Stationery Office. [Viewed 12 November 2019]. Available from: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/priced/hsg132.pdf
[iii] Remark Group., (2019). Air Quality and Wellbeing at Work Survey 2019 [online]. Peterborough: Remark Group. [Viewed 12 November 2019]. Available from: https://www.remark-group.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Air-Quality-and-Wellbeing-at-Work-Results.pdf
[iv] OBeirne, S., (2019). Is sick building syndrome making an unwelcome comeback?. FMJ [Viewed 12 November 2019]. Available from: https://www.fmj.co.uk/is-sick-building-syndrome-making-an-unwelcome-comeback/
[v] HSE., (2000). How to deal with sick building syndrome (SBS): Guidance for employers, building owners and building managers [online]. Norwich: The Stationery Office. [Viewed 12 November 2019]. Available from: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/priced/hsg132.pdf