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Indoor Environment for green building

Er. Parbhakar Dwivedi
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The importance of Indoor environment need no over emphasis because it is for the comfort and health of human beings who occupy the buildings after they are constructed. As maximum amount of time is spent by a person indoors, it is important that indoor environment is healthy without any pollutants, algae, and bacterias and it provides comfortable visual and thermal comfort as well. These concerns can be addressed with effective ventilation techniques utilizing high efficiency filtration, moisture management strategies and control of contaminants. The various measures which can be adopted are:

a. The indoor environment parameters have been specified by ASHRAE 62.1 and NBC-2005. The mechanical ventilation system can be designed to meet these minimum ventilation parameters. A well-defined IAQ plan need to be put in place.

b. The outdoor air quality might get affected due to nearby polluting industries, landfills, traffic pollution, construction sites and thus intake point’s needs to be identified.

c. Air conditioning cooling towers, ducts, standing water, sanitary exhausts are other areas of concern which breed algae and bacteria. It is important to take care of these areas through a well-defined plan at the design stage itself.

d. Specify materials which are free from volatile organic compounds (VOC) as in paints and solvents and earmark designated areas for smoking. Smoking areas shall be at a negative pressure differential of at least 5 Pascal’s compared to surrounding areas. There should not be any recirculation of smoke contaminated air.

The smoking areas can be ventilated at higher ventilation rate compared to non-smoking areas.

e. Install equipments to monitor outdoor air quality, like CO2 sensors, being delivered in the building.

f. Indoor environment is not only concerned with air quality, but visual and thermal comfort as well High level of lighting levels as specified in NBC- 2005 are needed for more productivity and wellbeing. Individual lighting controls, task lighting and efficient light fixtures can be provided. Sensors like day light sensors or occupancy sensors etc. can be provided to save on energy.

g. Thermal comfort levels can be enhanced by providing individual thermal controls to suit individual requirements. Operable windows must meet the requirements of ASHRAE and NBC. Various types of sensors to monitor temperature, air flow and humidity levels shall be installed to achieve a desired comfort level and energy consumption.

h. An important aspect of green building is to assess the declared parameters over a period of time after occupancy to establish the achievement. A plan to assess the thermal and visual comfort levels shall be put in place extending over a period of one to two years by providing measuring equipments and recording the measurements. A survey can be conducted to assess the satisfaction level of occupants and if more than a defined percentage (generally 20%) is found to be dissatisfied, the plan needs corrective action.

i. An important part of indoor environment is to connect the individual with outdoor environment. This can be done by allowing daylight into the building and allowing viewability of outdoor environment by providing direct line of sight through glazing in 90% of regularly occupied spaces. A computer simulation will be needed to simulate daylight conditions to prevent excessive outdoor radiation heat load through glazing The software produces daylight patterns of interior spaces over the entire period of sunlight.

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