SUMMARY

Objectives

The project will develop health-based ventilation guidelines for non-industrial buildings in Europe (offices, homes, schools, nursery, homes and day-care centres). They will reconcile health and energy impacts by protecting people staying in these buildings against risk factors, and at the same time taking into account the need for using energy rationally and the need for more energy efficient buildings.

The objectives of the guidelines are:

(1) target on demonstrated adverse health effects of inadequate indoor air quality and provide tangible health benefits for the building occupants and European populations;

(2) help avoid investment and energy cost of ventilation systems and rates which are not supported by evidence of health, productivity and welfare benefits; and

(3)integrate and optimize with the other EU policies that are relevant for healthy indoor air, namely source control (CPD, REACH), urban ambient air quality management (CAFÉ), energy using product (EuP) and low energy buildings (EPBD).

Strategic relevance

Every European citizen has right to indoor air quality (IAQ) that does not endanger the health. The estimated in 2008 annual burden of disease related to inadequate IAQ is 2 million disability adjusted life years (DALY) in EU27. Reducing this burden is a high priority in the European health policies. Ventilation is the key technology to achieve this aim. The project will contribute to priority actions of the second Health Programme by:

(1) contributing to the overall strands on the European Health Strategy;

(2) tackling key environmental health determinants to prevent major diseases, reduce of health inequalities and promote of sustainable health investments;

(3) providing long-term health benefits for EU citizens by protecting them against health risks due to poor IAQ in new and existing non-industrial buildings as a results of deficient ventilation requirements; and 
(4) assisting EU in optimizing and revising policies relevant for healthy indoor air dealing with source control, urban ambient air quality and low energy buildings.

Methods

Experts from medicine, engineering, indoor air sciences, exposure assessment, energy evaluation and ventilation practices will collect, survey and critically review the information that is necessary to develop the health-based ventilation guidelines which will built on the experience, findings and recommendations of the previous projects funded by EC, the ongoing development of the WHO IAQ Guidelines and all projects relevant to the topic. Scientific data necessary to develop guidelines include the data on the effects of ventilation practices, techniques and rates on indoor air exposures and health, the data on the current ventilation regulations and standards, systems, practices and their performance in Europe, and data on the relationship between the existing ventilation strategies and technologies on the energy use in buildings. The consequences of the guidelines will be outlined for health indicators, such as reduction of DALY, for future trends in built environments, as well as on energy use in buildings.

Expected outcomes

The Guidelines will result in improvement of quality of life  by reducing health risks associated with exposures in non-industrial buildings, estimated by reduced BoD. It will result in improved comfort  and productivity of office workforce and learning of pupils and students. This will strengthen Europe’s leading position concerning economical and social welfare and reduce societal costs at the community and national level. The Guidelines will reduce direct hazards related to indoor environments by creating safe working, learning and living environments and reducing equity to access to these environments. The Guidelines will have very strong impact on health promotion outcomes by informing citizens about the benefits of improved ventilation affecting thus motivation regarding healthy lifestyles and by changing policies, legislation and regulation, funding and resource allocation and  management practices. The Guidelines will strengthen education needed to improve personal health literacy and advocacy, actions to overcome structural barriers for achievement of health.