IAQ & Airborne Infectious Diseases

Indoor Air Quality or IAQ is a fundamental concern in modern HVAC design. Historically, the focus on indoor air quality has shifted from concerns such as tobacco smoke, moisture, and odors to encompass a holistic view of indoor environmental quality with the focus on sick building syndrome. This interest has expanded to include the impact of indoor air quality on asthma, allergies, and infections. The ASHRAE Fundamentals handbook notes that with respect to agents that cause disease, “Over a 70-year lifespan in a developed region, indoor air (in homes, schools, day cares, offices, shops, etc.) constitutes around 65% of the total lifetime exposure (in mass), whereas outdoor air, air during transportation, food, and liquid makes up the rest. For more vulnerable populations, such as newborns, the elderly, and the home bound ill, indoor air in homes makes up around 80% of the exposure.”

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