Eirdata recently undertook a nationwide survey with Engineers Ireland to see how ventilation affects indoor air quality, makes the workplace healthier and reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Specialists in cleanroom validation, commissioning and compliance, HVAC systems, indoor air quality and building wellness, Eirdata surveyed its client companies and the 24,000 members of Engineers Ireland.

With indoor air quality recognised as an integral contributing factor towards employee wellness, health and safety, Eirdata was keen to gather valuable market intelligence and insights to the issues and trends.

Bernard Yore, group CEO, Eirdata Ltd and ESS Ltd, said: “More than 75% of respondents believe that indoor air quality and ventilation is important or very important in their organisation.

'Almost half have not even discussed issue'

"However, our results show nearly 50% of those surveyed have not even had a discussion around how to ensure their workplaces are safe. Again, more than half of respondents (53%) rate their indoor air quality and ventilation as poor or average.

"This is very worrying, not just from a COVID-19 perspective but also from an individual's wellbeing.

L-R: Tommy Rice, general manager, Eirdata, and Bernard Yore, group CEO, ESS Ltd and Eirdata Ltd

"A really simple part of the solution in order to lower the concentration of indoor air pollutants or contaminants – including any viruses that may be in the air – is to increase ventilation.

"Keep windows open, if possible, so as to allow outdoor air to come indoors. While increasing ventilation is not enough to protect people from COVID-19 or any other respiratory disease, it is a simple tool and, when used along with other best practices, it can reduce the risk.

"Also monitoring indoor air quality at least twice a year and, preferably, to continually use sensors, is a quick, inexpensive part of the solution.”

The survey revealed that:

  • A total of 98% of respondents agree that their productivity, concentration and general wellbeing is a factor in the air that they breathe; 
  • A total of 96% agree that indoor air quality and ventilation has a direct effect on energy consumption and efficiency.

“It is very encouraging to see 93% agree IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) sensors are useful devices to help assess whether adequate ventilation is being provided and will measure the air quality as it relates to the health and comfort of the building occupants," said Yore.

"The sensors are small and can easily fit unobtrusively within any room/office area, while remote monitoring is simple.

"We know that failing to ventilate adequately to reduce the build-up of dangerous indoor air pollutants can lead to a range of serious health issues. 

Up to 1,300 people dying prematurely each year

"The latest Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Report for 2019 estimated 1,300 people are prematurely dying each year in Ireland due to poor air quality.

"Poor air quality has short-term health implications such as headaches, breathing difficulties and eye irritation, and long-term effects including asthma, reduced liver function or cardiovascular disease.

"We spend so much of our day indoors, usually 90% or more, so I urge all organisations to check the ventilation in their workplaces. As experts in air quality, we know that if you look after the wellness of your building, this in turn will contribute to the good health and wellbeing of your team in the long-term,” concluded Yore.