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Building Products January 2018

HEATING, VENTILATION AND AIR CONDITIONING BREATHING EASIER WITH SMART TECHNOLOGY With air quality and ventilation impacting significantly on our health and productivity, Spencer Allen, national sales manager for window technology systems, Geze UK, looks at how smart technology can offer a ‘more natural’ alternative to mechanical methods of indoor climate control and also work harmoniously alongside them. How much time do you spend outdoors might now account for as much as one tenth of the total UK electricity consumption. The report identified that in 2012, 65% of UK office space and 30% of retail space was air conditioned and this is continuing to grow. The concept of sick building syndrome (SBS) was first cited in the 1970s but its intangible nature – it has a myriad of symptoms, including headaches and dizziness, nausea, aches and pains, fatigue, poor concentration, shortness of breath, eye and throat irritation, blocked or runny nose and skin problems – has meant that no single cause has been found. It has, however, been estimated to affect 30-50% of new or refurbished buildings and what we can be certain of, is that health issues tend to be more prevalent in properties where windows are not opened and where mechanical ventilation or air conditioning systems are inadequate. So how can we ensure we are breathing life into our buildings and also help improve the lives of those who occupy them? Window technology has become an important JANUARY 2018 | BUILDING PRODUCTS 39 every day? For most of us, its comparatively little. It’s estimated that those of us in developed countries spend around 90% of our time indoors. The concern with this statistic relates to the fact that indoor air pollution is said to be responsible for 2.7% of global disease, according to the World Health Organisation. Therefore, it’s perhaps not surprising that a wide range of businesses are looking at the best ways of protecting one of their most valuable assets – their people – by looking at the environments in which they work and how they contribute to wellbeing and in turn, productivity. The development of smart buildings not only provides a holistic approach to a happier, healthier workforce but, by fusing nature and technology, can create an effective building management platform which offers its own efficiencies. A key part of smart building focus has been the development of indoor climate control – replacing or enhancing the air conditioning systems, on which we have become so reliant, with a more natural alternative. A recent report, published by BRE, highlighted an urgent need for the UK to address the use, design and operation of air conditioning in UK offices and retail environments. This was following the discovery that cooling with air conditioning Continued on page 40 >>>


Building Products January 2018
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