Indoor air quality has been repeatedly highlighted as a challenge since the 1970s. The World Health Organization (WHO) has strongly emphasized the importance of indoor air quality and its impacts on human health at different levels.
It has also become an important determinant of organisational competitiveness, as it could lead to repercussions due to its influence on employee concentration, productivity and absenteeism rate.
In 2019 estimates, the European Environment Agency (EEA) reported premature deaths of 307,000 EU citizens due to overexposure to PM2.5. Considering such, the organisation indicated indoor air quality as a threat to European lives despite improvements.
The European region strongly considers that people spend most of their time indoors, and the air in these environments can be heavily polluted. Therefore, the EU urges all member states to improve air quality by employing adequate measures. It also made the issuance of “indoor air quality certificates” mandatory for all buildings.
Regulation of Indoor Air Quality in the EU
Considering the IAQ impacts on the EU region, the relevant authorities rolled out an air quality policy with Ambient Air Quality Directives (AAQDs) becoming the forefront. There are currently three pillars of the European Union’s IAQ policy, and they are explained below.
The first pillar focuses on establishing a threshold for air pollution measurement and indoor air quality.
It comprises two directives: ambient air quality and reduction of arsenic, cadmium and mercury from the environment. If member states exceed the minimum threshold value, they are required to employ necessary measures to establish ambient air quality.
The second pillar focuses on the reduction of pollutant emissions from the environment. It is based on the NEC Directive, which highlights the reduction of five key pollutants: oxides of nitrogen, Sulphur dioxide, particular matter 2.5, non-methane VOCs and ammonia by the end of 2030.
The third principle comprises two directives. The first directive focuses on reducing industrial emissions and establishing an appropriate eco-system framework for energy products. The second directive focuses on controlling vehicle emissions.
The ultimate objectives of Ambient Air Quality Directives are to determine methods for air quality assessment, set standards across the European Union, ensure the availability of related information for the public and maintain good air quality.
The European Parliament recently passed a resolution in 2021 to implement the directives across the EU region.
On March 25 2021, Eurovent voiced its concerns regarding indoor air quality, including the arrangement of public awareness programs regarding IAQ, replacement of HVAC systems in old residential buildings and investigation of possible legislative remedies to strengthen indoor air quality.
Australia Should Follow the Steps of the EU
Australia also deals with the challenge of poor indoor air quality, specifically due to natural disasters like wildfires. Post-Covid, Australia put minimal air regulations in place to battle virus transmission and general indoor air pollution issues in schools.
However, Australia should follow in the footsteps of the European Union and its efforts to regulate indoor air quality and meet the minimum threshold to assess the level of quality in enclosed spaces.
Business owners are encouraged to take the initiative in prioritising their students, customers and/or employees health through air purification. This is an easy process, that saved you in energy costs, when led by Euromate Indoor Air Experts! Contact us today.