Temperature and humidity affect our indoor comfort
Temperature is one of the main determinants as to how we experience indoor climate.
Our sense of indoor temperature may tell us that an indoor space is too hot, too cold or just right.
When we talk about temperature measured by a thermometer, we usually mean dry temperature. We can also describe temperature as hot and muggy or hot heat, expressions that have as much to do with humidity as with temperature.
Humidity is one of the most important factors when considering the effect air quality has on the well-being and health of people in indoor environments. Moisture, particularly in cold climates, is most often related to problems such as damage to materials due to mold and the presence of bad odors. This is the result of poor ventilation and high humidity.
Low humidity also creates health problems for people, too, such as dry eyes, skin, mucous membranes and seasonal infections, including influenza.
In Nordic climates, the indoor humidity is often as low as 5-20%, which is extremely dry. Such dryness has a very negative effect on our well-being and health. Science indicates a relative humidity (RH) between 30-60% is necessary to create an optimal indoor climate.
“Air quality, sound, light and air movement are other factors that influence how we experience indoor environments”
Fresh air and constant air quality monitoring are essential to maintaining healthy climates in indoor environments
Because there are many sources of pollution inside buildings, including furnishings, building materials and electronics, ventilation, that is, the replacement of stale, polluted air with fresh air, is necessary. Incidentally, it may surprise you to learn that human beings constitute another major source of pollutants.
According to WHO, 80% of the world's population lives in areas where pollution exceeds safe levels. Ventilation systems are the best indoor solution, especially those that employ filtration to cleanse outdoor air, removing harmful particles from the influx of outdoor air and thereby improving the health of building occupants.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
The list of potential indoor pollutants reaches into the thousands, making measurement of each hugely impractical, which is why we group them together as volatile organic compounds, abbreviated VOC.
Metrology gives us the needed accuracy
Since air quality is an area with many very different variables making it hard to evaluate, a good place to start is measuring and monitoring the air quality. This allows us to configure the ventilation to meet the specific needs of the application.
One common metric is CO2 concentration, which provides the advantage of easing measurement, quantification and the setting of limit values. However, when you measure CO2, though you can determine certain key aspects that mainly affect performance, you can easily miss other very relevant health variables. It is much more effective and telling to use VOC concentrations to determine potential problems and design suitable monitoring and ventilation solutions.
With people spending about 90% of their lives indoors, buildings have a substantial impact on the health and well-being of their occupants.
Ventilation and buildings
In our push to cut carbon emissions, the pressure to increase the energy-efficiency of our buildings is intensifying.
When we describe the climate indoors, we usually speak of it in terms of temperature, saying it is too warm, too cool or just right.