Last Thursday, 15 June, was Clean Air Day, highlighting the devastating effect polluted air can have on our health. It is estimated that in the UK alone, polluted air causes around 36,000 premature deaths per year, while a far higher number suffer from asthma and other health impacts from dirty air.
On a less dramatic scale, poor air quality has also been linked to a dip in productivity, happiness and general wellbeing. Conversely, cleaner indoor air can boost cognitive function and helps prevent the spread of airborne diseases.
With people spending, on average, 90% of their time indoors, as an industry we need to ensure that the buildings we create provide healthy internal environments that enable occupiers to breathe clean air.
The first step towards achieving this is accurate measurement, monitoring and communication. Just as BREEAM and Energy Performance Certificate ratings have drawn attention to the sustainability credentials of buildings, AirRated is helping to provide an accurate picture of indoor air quality.
This helps those working there to see the building’s performance at a glance and encourage them to make positive changes where possible to help make a difference.
With companies increasingly looking to attract the most talented staff and get the most from them, amenities promoting healthy practices have become commonplace, including gyms, cycle facilities, high-quality changing rooms and spaces for yoga and pilates.
But while these undoubtedly bring benefits, we must ensure we are not overlooking the basics; something as simple as the air we breathe can make a huge difference to the health, wellbeing and performance of our staff. Air quality is therefore set to become an increasingly important consideration for tenants when selecting an office space.