Adapta comments on air quality

The issue of air quality in premises which are intended for use as offices and general services, that is to say premises where no kind of industrial activity takes place, is an increasingly common one in the sphere of working conditions.

The symptomatology presented by those who suffer tend not to be severe, and since it does not drive up sick leave taken hugely, the effects tend to be minimised. These effects nonetheless are conducive to generally uncomfortable conditions. In practice, these effects can impact both people’s physical and mental health, causing high stress levels, migraines, nausea, and accompanying these an increase in absenteeism and reduced work performance. In order to describe these situations, when more than 20 per cent of a building’s occupants are affected by symptoms, the term “Sick Building Syndrome” is used. Several studies have gone to show that people who live in cities spend between 58 per cent and 78 per cent of their time confined in interior spaces, meaning that the quality of the air that we breath in these environments is of the utmost importance for our health. This factor is exacerbated by the fact that buildings are increasingly designed to be sealed off in order to achieve greater energy efficiency. Low levels of natural ventilation entail greater exposure to contaminating agents.

Air can be perceived to be good when it contains the necessary constituents in suitable amounts. Someone who uses the building is best equipped to give us an assessment of the quality of the air that they breathe. By virtue of their senses, a person is sensitive to the olfactory effects and irritants of thousands upon thousands of chemical compounds. The problem arises when we wish to make a prediction based on its composition about whether or not some specific air will be perceived as high or low quality by the public.

In industrial environments the chemical compounds related to or required for a particular product is typically known, and their concentrations calculated and compared to threshold limit values. In interior spaces we can be exposed to a plethora of substances in minute concentrations, above all due to the greater proliferation of new materials in recent times. This wide range of substances and the particular conditions of temperature and humidity often make it difficult to predict whether it will be perceived as stale or bad, meaning low quality.

Due to the above information, Adapta has tested the products of their VIVENDI collection, intended for architecture according to ISO standard 16000-9:2006 regarding the determination of the emission of volatile organic compounds from building products and furnishing. In light of the results the company has received the distinction of an A+ (very low emissions) for its wall, ceiling, window, and door panels.