We aim to provide a healthy environment to occupants of buildings, providing a tight building with specialised equipment regulating air flow that would allow filtered air to circulate throughout the house with minimum loss to heating and cooling energy. The goal is "Build tight and ventilate right".
Sustainability and green buildings are common words mentioned in the built environment. The fundamental objectives of sustainability and green buildings are to deliver a healthy space and reducing the amount of energy generated by fossil fuels. There is great emphasis on energy but not much consideration on indoor air quality. How safe and healthy is your home?
Many householders are sealing their homes to conserve energy but excessive sealing can become a health hazard without consideration to the accepted level of air flow, allowing pollutants to accumulate within the dwelling, creating a cocktail of toxic soup. Added to this, lifestyle and technological changes to building materials are also introducing a mixture of volatile organic compounds (VOC's). Ventilation can also be a complex issue especially building close to a busy road and industrial area.
In addition to these chemicals, toxic gases can be emitted by:
• combustion equipment e.g. unflued gas stoves and heaters within the dwelling and poor maintenance to appliances
• build up of soot in fireplace chimneys causing back draughting
Indoor air quality is a growing health concern globally and regarded as the new sleeping giant of the built environment. Part of the problem is the lack of understanding of how to reduce energy consumption safely. It is unfortunate that we cannot easily see indoor air quality problems, but only measure the human health outcomes contributed by pollutants over time.
There is growing literature on indoor air quality and health from many leading medical, building and government organisations acknowledging problems associated with:
• carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide caused by combustion equipment both indoors and high traffic outdoors
• formaldehyde caused by off-gassing of building materials, furnishings and the combustion processes caused by fossil fuels
• particulate matter (dust) caused by the feces of dust mites, fire places, combustion equipment and air infiltration carrying ultrafine particles caused by vehicles close to busy roads
• volatile organic compounds (VOC's) caused by various types of chemicals used in furnishing and materials in many homes
Most susceptible to these pollutants are babies in the development stage of expectant moms, the young and elderly as well as those with cardiac and respiratory illness. Research has shown that at times it is safer being outdoors than indoors.
Our experience has shown that some householders have not serviced or installed a proper extractor fan discharging to the exterior to their combustion appliances resulting in pollutants being discharged into the internal space.
Sources of Pollution:
1: Carbon Monoxide
• poor combustion, unflued combustion appliances and lack of maintenance
• poor maintenance to chimneys of fireplaces and appliances
• possible sudden chest pains in people with angina
• large amounts can be fatal
2: Nitrogen Dioxide
• unflued combustion appliances and external sources
• can aggravate asthma symptoms.
3: Particulate Matter
• mould spores
• combustion appliances unflued
• smoking indoors
• leaky air conditioning return ducts
• open fire places
• external sources
• Increased respiratory problems, including irritation of the airways, coughing, difficulty in breathing
• may develop increased asthma
• may develop increased bronchitis
• a growing concern relating to cardio vascular disease
• Off-gassing of some materials (synthetic materials) used in construction, home furnishing and combustion processes from fossil fuels. The period of off-gassing depends on the amount of formaldehyde, temperature, humidity and the effectiveness of air circulation within the home (ventilation).
• formaldehyde is now known to be a cancer causing agent by leading research organisations and been upgraded to Group 1 from Group 2 known to cause cancer to humans.
• may cause burning or tingling sensations in eyes, nose and throat
• can cause tightness in the chest and wheezing
• can cause serious illness due to increased levels and long term exposure
Our service covers:
• measuring natural air flow of dwellings (infiltration test)
• testing the combustion gases of appliances
• measuring and reporting on the ambient level of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide
• detecting moisture-related problems contributing to microbial growth
• use of the particle meter to establish the level of particulate matter (dust)
• Measuring particles emanating from the air conditioning registers through improper duct sealing or damaged ducts. Particles can be drawn in from the attic and sub-floor space, especially with return ducts.
• measuring formaldehyde levels in specific areas of the buildings and providing solutions for dispelling the gas
• measuring total volatile organic compounds (TVOC)
• recommending and managing the installation of ventilation systems