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How to reduce air pollution effects within London's buildings?

What’s the role of Indoor Air Quality in tackling London’s air pollution issues

From 15th August 2016, Londoners have been given air quality alerts at travel hotspots across the Capital when pollution levels are at their highest. The updates will be displayed at bus stops, river pier stops, tube stations and on road signs to inform members of the public.

The notifications are part of London’s wider clean air strategy created to reduce air pollution levels. Other initiatives include a crackdown on high polluting vehicles within the city and a ‘no idling’ rule at landmarks like Tower Bridge where drivers are encouraged to turn off their engines when in traffic.

While the measures revealed so far are a positive step in London’s fight against air pollution, I hope that as part of the consultation and resulting strategy, thought is also given to measures that reduce air pollution and its effects within the Capital’s buildings.

In a busy city like London for example, natural ventilation may not be the best option due to the quality of external outdoor air and changing urban context that alters how natural ventilation performs.

To tackle this, London’s Air Quality Taskforce should be exploring a range of ventilation systems that best fit with the building’s need – for example, its location and construction type. One such system could be mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) as these solutions can feature F grade filters (the highest grade of filter available) that are super fine and remove particulates that you commonly get from vehicles fumes etc. This makes them ideal for many types of buildings, but especially those in urban areas that are regularly visited by members of the public.

The Air Quality Taskforce should also be insisting that ventilation strategies designed for new and renovated buildings tackle a variety of factors such as airtightness and indoor air quality measures. Cohesively, buildings designed in this way can reduce the infiltration of unwanted particulates, pollen and other pollutants that contribute to poor health.

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Tom Cox
Tom Cox Habitat Head of Development
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