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Ewen Rose Sep 12, 2023 10:00:00 AM 2 min read

BESA backs first WHO indoor air quality conference


IAQ-Blog-BannerThe Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) is sponsoring the first ever World Health Organisation (WHO) conference on indoor air quality.

The event, which takes place in Bern, Switzerland on September 20th is entitled: ‘Making a Step Change in Indoor Environments for Human Health’ and is being co-organised with the Geneva Health Forum.

The conference is already sold out for ‘in person’ delegates, but can be joined online via the event link here.

“The Covid-19 pandemic underscored the importance of ventilation in mitigating respiratory diseases…and exposure to indoor pollutants significantly impacts health, productivity, and overall wellbeing,” the organisers said.

“However, many buildings lack sufficient ventilation and measures to ensure good indoor air quality. The focus of the meeting will be to consider what is needed at a strategic level to make effective change to improve indoor environments in buildings. We will explore the practical challenges and opportunities for understanding and mitigating poor ventilation in the most cost-effective ways.”

The chair of BESA’s Indoor Air Quality group Nathan Wood has been invited to take part in the conference debates alongside other international experts in environmental engineering, health, indoor environment research, as well as government officials and policymakers.

“We already knew that exposure to pollutants in indoor environments had a seriously detrimental impact on the health, productivity and performance of people – with particularly serious implications for children, the elderly and those suffering from respiratory conditions,” said Wood.

“However, the pandemic served to bring this issue to the attention of a much wider audience and deepened our understanding of the scale and depth of the IAQ crisis. I, therefore, look forward to sharing what we have learned in the UK about the importance of better ventilation and learning from this stellar line up of international experts,” he added.

Speakers will consider the role of engineering solutions alongside the need for governments to set meaningful targets and enforcement. They will also discuss how the IAQ issue can be addressed in tandem with net zero to deliver “win-win solutions” and the role of established and emerging clean air technologies.

The BESA Indoor Air Quality group has produced four pieces of IAQ guidance which are free to download here 

BESA also offers an ‘IAQ Basic Awareness’ training course via its Academy, which provides a useful introduction to the subject. This short online course explains the importance of IAQ, the main airborne contaminants that affect buildings, their sources, the impact on the indoor environment caused by outdoor pollution, and some basic strategies for addressing poor ventilation. Please visit the BESA Academy website for more information.

Many of the themes discussed at the WHO event will be picked up again at this year’s World Ventilation Day which takes place on November 8th.