What leads to bad IEQ?
At the opposite end of the scale, poor IEQ can lead to a number of negative outcomes for a building’s inhabitants.
According to a report by the University of Melbourne, buildings with poor IEQ can cause people to experience very real and adverse “physical and psychological effects”.
Such adverse effects occurs when the environmental stimuli of a building, such as its sounds, smells, light and temperatures, are “beyond [a person’s] comfort thresholds for the activity they are undertaking”.
inhabitants’ health is affected by the quality of the building
This can lead to sick building syndrome, or SBS, where inhabitants’ health is affected by the quality of the building. These effects can include irritated eyes, nose and throat.
According to the report, “SBS is usually attributed to poor maintenance and operation of the building’s fresh air supply, material off-gassing, mould and inadequate ventilation of internal equipment (such as photocopiers)”.
The solution to SBS is often a focus on improved ventilation, but according to the report, this may end up “masking underlying issues with building materials”.
SBS and other negative effects of poor IEQ can have a “significant effect on staff productivity and absenteeism, affecting a business’s economic performance”.
One report by the Building Commission Victoria estimated SBS as a result of poor IEQ could cost the Australian economy $12 billion per year.