After a long day of work your start to get a headache, maybe you even feel a little nauseous? There is a good chance that you have been in a room with a too high concentration of CO2 for too long. People then go outside for a breath of fresh air. Literally to get some fresh air. But shouldn’t there also be fresh air inside? If all offices provide good ventilation, absenteeism due to illness would be considerably reduced. It is difficult to link figures to this, but the term ‘sick building syndrome’ did not come from nowhere.
The health effects of exposure to excessive CO2 levels in a room include dizziness, nausea and dullness. If the amount of CO2 in the indoor environment rises above 800 parts per million (ppm), this has direct consequences for cognitive ability. The Health and Safety Act therefore prescribes a limit value of 1200 ppm.
Research from Harvard University has founded that improvements in air quality inside, substantially improves the cognitive functioning of employees. The research simulated the indoor climate of green and conventional buildings in order to measure the influence on the cognitive functions and performance of office workers. During this period the participants were exposed to the air quality of conventional buildings, green buildings and green buildings with extra ventilation. The impressive result: cognitive scores were 101% higher in green buildings with extra ventilation! In addition, employee productivity increased, leading to more turnover. This makes the investment needed for a healthy workplace more than worth it.
It is clear that the supply of sufficient fresh air in a building is more than desirable. With demand-driven ventilation, the fresh air supply is continuously adapted to the number of users and the activities that take place in a room. If demand-driven ventilation is not available, it is important that the CO2 values in a room are monitored so that immediate action can be taken if the levels are too high.