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Modern Workspaces Betting Big On Improving Indoor Air Quality

Modern-day working professionals spend most of their waking hours confined to the indoor environment at their workplace

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As per a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), India is home to 15 of 20 most-polluted cities in the world. More alarming than the report’s findings, however, is the fact that this news comes as absolutely no surprise to a vast majority of Indians.

Top metropolitan cities in the country have constantly been in the news for their staggering pollution levels. The air quality in the National Capital Region, in particular, has been abysmal and has only gotten worse in the last couple of years. Such high levels of air pollution are naturally leading to major health and wellness issues – most markedly in the rise of chronic diseases.

Around three decades back, it is estimated that smokers comprised 80-90 percent of lung cancer patients. Recent reports, however, indicate that non-smokers currently account for almost half of all lung cancer patients in India. Women, a demographic which had previously been relatively untouched by the disease, have also demonstrated increased incidence rates. All of this has largely been attributed to ever-increasing dust and air pollution.

Inside-out: The invisible threat of indoor air pollution

Whenever we think of air pollution, we think of it as a phenomenon that exists only on the outside. But the air that we breathe inside our workspaces and homes is the same. In fact, experts say that indoor air pollution – caused mainly due to emissions, poor ventilation, overcrowding, faulty architectural design, poorly maintained AC systems, among others – can be even more harmful than the pollution caused in the open air. 

This is problematic, especially since modern-day working professionals spend most of their waking hours confined to the indoor environment at their workplace. Exposure to poor indoor air quality (IAQ) at their workplaces can leave them exposed to several respiratory illnesses such as asthma and even cancer. It also tends to cause sick building syndrome that further leads to erratic headaches, wheezing, lethargy, dizziness, etc., eventually leading to significant costs due to healthcare expenses and reduced productivity levels amongst individuals.

To avoid such circumstances, modern workplaces are installing air-cleaning devices like mechanical air filters and electronic air cleaners (EAC) to remove toxic particles from the air. For instance, Candor Techspace has tied up with US-based Honeywell to leverage the latter’s air cleaning technologies for maintaining a high level of air quality and energy efficiency in its offices. The air filtration system does not restrict airflow and follows dual-stage electrostatic precipitation to ensure efficient removal of small particles, thereby providing clean air inside enclosed workspaces. 

How new-age office campuses are tackling the challenge of deteriorating indoor air quality

This is why leading real estate companies are coming up with new-age workspaces that are equipped with solutions such as air purifiers, effective ventilation systems, and dehumidifiers to combat the threat of indoor air pollution. Such modern office campuses also deploy other holistic measures to ensure that the health and wellbeing of professionals are not compromised by low IAQ. 

For instance, they constantly monitor different IAQ parameters such as velocity, O3, temperature, particulate matter, CO2, SO2, etc. Doing so ensures that they are able to maintain the best possible IAQ levels by taking the relevant corrective measure, as and when needed. H-VAC (heating, ventilation, and cooling) systems are also frequently reviewed and serviced by expert professionals to minimise harmful emissions that can cause health-related complications. 

Indoor planting has emerged as yet another impressive step implemented by these modern workplaces to address the issue of poor IAQ. Succulents and other green plants placed at strategic intervals not only act as natural air purifiers but also give a fresh look to the office interiors. These succulents are extremely helpful in absorbing excess ammonium fumes, carbon dioxide, and many other harmful gases, and in turn, release oxygen to improve IAQ. Having green plants placed near workspaces also reduces work-related stress and promotes a sense of wellbeing.

Why ensuring high indoor air quality should matter to companies

Deteriorating air quality has become a global health emergency that needs urgent attention. Many leading organisations are already underlining their commitment to ensuring a safe and pollution-free work atmosphere for their employees by adopting workspaces that offer effective measures to control indoor air pollution. 

Other organisations must also realize the myriad benefits that come with this practice. The workforce is the foundation stone upon which any business success is built. Improving the IAQ at workspaces can not only curb the growing risk to employee health due to air pollution but also bolster organisation-wide productivity. With more and more companies going green inside-out, we are progressing towards a future where we will see more green than black – at least within the office space!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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