Anderson Bell + Christie

Indoor Air Quality

Part two of our R&D showcase is our work with the Scottish Government Building Standards Division on indoor air quality.

We were commissioned by Scottish Government Building Standards Division as part of a team led by MEARU to Investigate Occupier Influence On Indoor Air Quality In Dwellings.

The research found that most trickle vents are infrequently controlled, the majority being left in a closed state. Windows are used for purge ventilation, primarily to control overheating in living rooms, but window opening for purge ventilation is not a reliable or practical solution in bedrooms overnight.

Whilst adaptive behaviour for purge ventilation may be a reasonable model in some parts of dwellings such as living rooms, in other rooms it is a limited strategy. Occupants of bedrooms, asleep overnight are not able respond to changing conditions. The lack of guidance for occupants was also apparent and greater knowledge about the benefits of ventilation and reassurance about likely energy impacts could be beneficial. A reasonable proportion of the population habitually ventilate overnight.

One of the difficulties facing regulation is the increasing complexity of buildings, materials and systems to address primarily energy issues, but which have unintended consequences on other aspects. It may therefore be useful to consider a regulatory strategy that passes some of this design responsibility back to architects and builders through the provision of in-use performance standards. Not only would this allow designers to develop their own solutions, it may assist in compliance in the finished building. It may also provide some incentive for manufacturers to develop more innovative solutions.

This work also influenced the changes brought into Section 3.14 of the 2015 Domestic Technical Handbook alongside updated ventilation design guidance and information sheets for inclusion in Tenants Handbooks.

The full report from this research is published here: