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Room Air and Health

It is scientifically proven that air quality in the living and working environment is of great importance for our wellbeing and performance. Deficiencies in air quality can have a negative impact on the well-being and health of the building users. Thus, air is a medical variable, which should be given much attention in the private as well as commercial sectors. Issues of indoor air quality from a medical perspective are covered in numerous publications. To avoid confusion, we have summarized the most important findings below:

 

It takes a long time for a mid-European traveller to get used to high humidity and unbearable heat in the tropics. In this transitional period, he is really down despite the high outside temperatures. People coming from tropical area would feel no better in the opposite situation. We have great problems with unfamiliar climatic conditions as our bodies and, above all, our metabolism is adjusted to certain external conditions. The body can compensate for deviations (e.g. temperature fluctuations caused by perspiration or trembling), but these protective mechanisms only work for a certain period of time and to a limited extent. Not only extreme situations bring our body out of balance. Even less conspicuous deviations from the ideal climate, which are usually not noticed at first sight, have an effect on our mental, physical, and mental condition. The result is reduced performance. In the long term, bad climatic conditions can even lead to health damage. We have learned that whether a person feels good and finds thermal comfort depends to a large extent on the quality of indoor air.

The thermal comfort is the factor of well-being.
It is influenced by three main elements:

- by man himself:
i.e. the type of his clothes, degree of activity, length of stay in the room
- by the room:
Temperature of the floors and walls, heat or cold radiation from the enclosed surfaces (e.g. exterior walls, window surfaces)
- by the ambient conditions:
Air temperature, air humidity and air speed


Formation of pollutants
This is how harmful substances appear in the room air:
- through humans (significant source of pollutants, germs and moisture)
- human activities (hobby, smoking, cooking)
- through work processes (work places)
- through pollutant sources in the building (outgassing from the building fabric, paints, adhesives or dusts)
- through fungi and bacteria in the house (RLT, dampness damage, potting soil, allergens from pets)

Pollutants in the room air
A certain amount of pollutants enters the building from the outside and is additionally released in the interior (general air pollution, car and industrial exhaust gases). Pollutants are simply unavoidable in rooms where people live and work. Therefore, the pollutant content is important. As long as the safety limit is not exceeded, there is at least no immediate danger. However, the lower the pollutant content and the more tolerable air in general, the more pleasant and efficient is the use of the rooms.

The most common indoor pollutants
Particulate
Asbestos, mineral fibres, suspended particles from insulation material, fire protection, smoke
Biological

Mold, bacteria, allergens from moisture damage at masonry, planting soil, neglected air-conditioning systems Gaseous, inorganic Carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, radon, car exhaust from heating, people, underground, smoke, cars Gaseous, organic Solvents (toluene, xylene, etc.), PCP*, lindane, PAH, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOC) of paints/varnishes, adhesives/glues, wood preservatives, smoke *May not be used in Germany since 1989