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How to Improve Indoor Environmental Quality?

How to Improve Indoor Environmental Quality?
Published on May 19, 2023

The term "Indoor Environmental Quality" (IEQ) refers to the overall standard of an indoor space. Air quality is part of this, but so are other factors like natural light and views, quiet spaces, temperature regulation, and more.  

Considerations include whether or not equipment and people can be reached quickly in an emergency and whether or not there is adequate room for people to move around in could also fall under this category. Rather than focusing solely on temperature or air quality, building managers and operators would do well to evaluate all components of IEQ if they want to boost occupant happiness.  

Given that most people's time is spent inside, it's not unexpected that better IEQ has been linked to greater productivity in the workplace. 

The term "indoor environmental quality" (IEQ) describes how a building's general state affects the health of its occupants. Workplace efficiency and comfort improve when a facility has good indoor environmental quality (IEQ). But when indoor air quality is poor, being inside a structure can be extremely hazardous to your health.  

Numerous studies have shown that structures can have negative effects on their occupants. The environment of a building can have a negative impact on our capacity to focus, lower the quality of our output, and even make us physically ill.  

What are the benefits of improving indoor environmental quality? 

"Indoor Environment Quality" (IEQ) describes the condition of a building and how it makes its occupants feel. This includes things like airflow, lighting, temperature, and ergonomics. Improvements to a building's IEQ have a positive impact on both its resale value and the comfort of its occupants.  


The main goals of IEQ are to make workplaces safer and healthier for employees and to increase workers' levels of satisfaction and output. It is clear to see why this endeavour is more important than ever as the world continues to feel the effects of the pandemic.  

Improving the indoor environment has several positive effects, including making individuals happier and more productive at work. Key benefits include the following: 

Health and Well-being 

Better health effects for building occupants are a result of better indoor environmental quality. By reducing indoor pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter, and allergens, it helps avoid breathing problems, allergies, and asthma. Sick Building Syndrome, which can cause headaches, tiredness, and irritation, is also less likely in places with good air quality. 

Increased Comfort 

Better indoor air quality makes any building more pleasant to spend time in. It entails making sure the appropriate balances of heat, moisture, and air flow are maintained. Having the proper level of thermal comfort ensures that people are not overly hot or chilly. Stale air is removed, odours are contained, and the accumulation of contaminants is prevented when there is sufficient ventilation. 

Improved cognitive performance  

Focus, productivity, and brainpower can all benefit from an indoor setting that promotes health and wellness. The ability to think clearly, assimilate information, and make judgements is facilitated by favourable environmental conditions, according to studies. Wherever concentration and efficiency are valued the most, such as in the workplace or a classroom, this is crucial. 

Energy efficiency

Energy and Cost Savings  

Energy economy measures often go hand in hand with steps to improve the quality of the air inside. Strategies like good insulation, energy-efficient HVAC systems, and well-placed lights not only make people more comfortable but also use less energy. By wasting less energy, residents can save money on their power bills, and businesses can save money in the long run and help the environment. 

Productivity and Performance  

An indoor setting that is healthy and comfortable is good for productivity and performance. When people feel good mentally and physically, they are more likely to be driven, focused, and good at their jobs. Better indoor environmental quality helps people be more productive, creative, and happy on the job by reducing distractions and pain. 

Satisfaction and Retention 

When people are in a well-designed interior space that prioritises their health and comfort, they experience greater happiness. Having this kind of security in locations like workplaces, classrooms, hospitals, and homes is crucial. People tend to remain in the same location for longer periods of time if they enjoy living there. Unemployment rates fall, and morale is boosted as a result. 

Environmental care  

Improving the quality of the air inside is in line with sustainable practices and helps with environmental care. Buildings can have less of an effect on the environment and their carbon footprint if they use less energy, use fewer resources, and are made of eco-friendly materials. This helps not only the people who live there but also the community as a whole and the world as a whole. 


What are common sources of indoor air contaminants? 

The following are prevalent sources of indoor air pollutants: 

  1. Combustion Appliances, if not properly vented or maintained, fuel-burning appliances such as gas stoves, furnaces, fireplaces and heaters can discharge pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and fine particles into the air. 

  2. Indoor smoking of cigarettes, cigars, or other tobacco products emits a variety of harmful compounds, including nicotine, formaldehyde, and particles. 

  3. Some building materials, such as asbestos-containing insulation, can discharge harmful fibres into the air if they degrade or are disturbed. In addition, some pressed wood products used for cabinetry, flooring, and furniture may emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde. 

  4. Cleaning and maintenance products, personal care products (e.g., aerosol sprays, perfumes), and activities involving paints, solvents, or adhesives may emit VOCs and other pollutants. Candles and air fresheners can also contribute to indoor air pollution. 

  5. Poorly maintained or contaminated HVAC systems can distribute contaminants throughout a building. If air ducts or filters are not routinely cleaned, allergens such as dust, mould, and pollen may accumulate. 

  6. Moisture issues, such as excessive humidity, water leaks, or inadequate ventilation in bathrooms, kitchens, or basements, can result in mould growth and the release of mould spores and other allergens. 

  7. Outdoor Sources such as Radon (a naturally occurring radioactive gas), pesticides, and particulate matter from traffic or industrial emissions can penetrate buildings through open doors, windows, and ventilation systems. 

It is crucial to note that the specific sources and levels of indoor air contaminants can vary based on building construction, geographic location, occupant behaviour, and ventilation methods. Indoor air pollution can be reduced through routine maintenance, adequate ventilation, and the use of low-emission products. 

Environmental Quality

13 Ways to Improve Indoor Environmental Quality 

Use Daylighting 

Daylighting is the process of maximizing the amount of natural light that enters a space through the strategic placement of windows, skylights, or light shelves. This has beneficial effects on occupants' happiness and productivity while also decreasing the demand for artificial lights. The Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, for instance, has a distinctive crown-like structure that combines daylighting via a perforated metal covering, bringing in natural light and making for a comfortable working environment deep within the skyscraper. 

Install operable windows 

Windows that may be opened allow residents to regulate the temperature and ventilation of their living space. As a result, we can use less energy and breathe better air without resorting to artificial ventilation. The Bullitt Centre in Seattle is a good example of a building with windows that can be opened or closed, creating a more comfortable and healthy atmosphere for its tenants. 

Give occupants temperature, lighting and ventilation control 

The comfort and pleasure of inhabitants can be increased by giving them control over the building's environmental settings. For instance, the Nest Learning Thermostat can adapt to the temperature based on the preferences of the people living in the house. As an added bonus, the ability to fine-tune the temperature in each room means less wasted energy overall. 

Provide ergonomic furniture 

Ergonomic furniture is designed with the user's comfort and good posture in mind, making it ideal for lowering the occurrence of musculoskeletal illnesses. Herman Miller, for instance, manufactures chairs like the Aeron chair that include adjustable ergonomic features like back height, lumbar support, and armrest placement to guarantee the user is comfortable even after several hours of work. 

indoor air quality

Include appropriate acoustic design 

Implementing efforts to improve acoustic design can lower noise levels and make for a more peaceful and productive workplace. Reverberation and sound transmission can be regulated by installing sound-absorbing materials like acoustic panels, ceiling tiles or carpets. Sound-absorbing ceiling clouds and wall panels are used to lessen the impact of ambient noise in Microsoft's world headquarters in Redmond, Washington, in accordance with acoustic design principles. 

Use indoor plants 

Indoor plants not only help IAQ by lowering pollution levels in the air, but they also add a nice aesthetic touch. Several trees and plants may be seen on each balcony of the Bosco Verticale towers in Milan, Italy, which have become famous for their abundant flora. In addition to improving indoor air quality through carbon dioxide absorption and oxygen production, this vertical forest also creates an aesthetically beautiful and tranquil atmosphere for its inhabitants. 

Continually track IAQ levels 

Monitoring IAQ levels via sensors and monitoring systems allows for early detection and resolution of problems. Companies like Awair, for instance, sell IAQ monitors that keep tabs on things like temperature, humidity, carbon monoxide, and chemical toxins. The data and alerts provided by these devices are real-time, allowing facility managers to keep indoor air quality (IAQ) at a high standard. 

Use materials that are the least low-emitting 

Selecting low-emitting materials can aid in lowering volatile organic compounds (VOC) and other chemical concentrations inside a building. Manufacturers of carpeting, such as Interface, for instance, have options with minimal VOC emissions that contribute to improved air quality. A healthy indoor environment is also aided by the use of low-emitting paints, adhesives, and sealants. 

Facilitate quality IEQ through good design and construction 

Best practices in design and construction can have a major effect on indoor environmental quality (IEQ). For instance, installing insulation, controlling moisture, and designing for adequate ventilation all work together to lower mold growth and increase air quality. Quality IEQ is also supported by the use of eco-friendly construction materials that help maintain a healthy interior environment, such as insulation with low emissions or goods made with recycled materials. 

indoor environment

Automate climate controls for maximum efficiency 

Automated climate control systems are designed to maximize energy economy without sacrificing comfort for building occupants. HVAC systems can be programmed and controlled based on occupancy and time of day with the help of building automation systems from manufacturers like Honeywell and Siemens. Energy consumption can be reduced by using these systems to regulate environmental factors, including temperature, humidity, and ventilation. Using real-time data and occupancy patterns, the Edge Building in Amsterdam uses a complex climate management system to optimize heating, cooling, and lighting for maximum efficiency and occupant comfort. 

Opt for natural light  

Increasing the amount of natural light that enters a building has many positive effects, including better visual comfort, less need for artificial lighting, and happier occupants. Large windows, light wells, and light shelves are all examples of design choices that improve a building's ability to let in natural light. Glass walls, skylights, and open atriums flood the Apple Park Visitor Centre in Cupertino, California, with natural light, making the space feel airy and welcoming. 

Make cleaning processes smart and green 

To improve indoor environmental quality (IEQ), it is important to use cleaning practices that are both effective and environmentally friendly. When cleaning, it's smart and green to use products and methods that are gentler on the planet. Microfiber cleaning cloths, for instance, can reduce chemical use and waste because they require less water and cleaning ingredients. In addition, a green cleaning strategy that uses non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products creates a safer, more pleasant space for everyone within. 

Maintain Energy Efficiency 

Keeping up with energy efficiency is important since it helps the environment outside and the comfort level inside. Improving IEQ can be a side effect of implementing energy-efficient technology and practices such as LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances, and building envelope upgrades. As an example, the Bullitt Centre, which was previously mentioned, is sustainable and comfortable because of its use of energy-efficient features such as rooftop solar panels, high-performance insulation, and energy-recovery ventilation systems. 

By adopting these practices, building owners and managers can improve the health, comfort, and productivity of their tenants. When properly implemented, each tactic can help boost indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and improve people's lives within buildings. 


Also Read - How is Climate Change Impacting the UK Summer 2022. 

To Sum Up 

Due to the rising number of building-related illnesses, indoor pollution is seen as one of the top environmental risks to public health around the world. Studies have shown that the number of indoor pollutants is much higher than the number of outdoor polluters. 

In addition to enhancing the health, happiness, and productivity of their occupants, owners should care for the entire environment. Taking a comprehensive strategy to enhance indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is the best way to make sure that people are happy and healthy in their buildings.  

You can also include the following practices - 

  • Proper ventilation 

  • Filter air pollutants 

  • Control humidity levels 

  • Minimize chemical pollutants 

  • Proper waste management 

  • Soundproofing 

  • Regular maintenance and inspections 

  • Educate occupants 

Keep in mind that enhancing the quality of the indoor environment is an ongoing effort that calls for a holistic strategy and constant monitoring. These additional methods can be used to improve the standard of interior environments and boost people's quality of life. 

Sustainable Future

Building a Greener and Sustainable Future           

Before 2023, accountability was seen as pleasant, but that's starting to change. The epidemic refocused attention on sustainability and clean energy. Sustainability, previously an overarching issue, is now a key focus for every company. This presents a unique chance for businesses to evaluate their current state and consider how they could reduce their carbon footprint in the near and far future.         

There is an increasing effort by companies of all kinds to combat the effects of climate change. They no longer include it in the brand's mission statement, but it has become a unifying notion that drives them to carry out essential tasks.         

Companies are developing brand-new, long-term plans. They are working to lessen their environmental impact by using cutting-edge machinery. This allows them to protect their worker's interests while maintaining open communication. By 2023, brands that must put sustainability first will have already lost the race.     

With a presence in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Toronto, London, Zurich, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, SG Analytics, a pioneer in Research and Analytics, offers tailor-made services to enterprises worldwide.                                  

SG Analytics is an industry leader in ESG services, providing custom sustainability advice and research to aid deliberation. Contact us today if you are looking for an effective ESG integration and management solution provider to improve your company's long-term viability.