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Sustainable Ways of Improving Indoor Air Quality

Context:

Amidst the sepia-toned haze enveloping the sky, the concerning decline in the Air Quality Index (AQI) persists. While individuals strive to shield themselves from the alarming outdoor air pollution, it comes as a surprise that Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is equally susceptible to contamination.

Relevance:

GS3- Environmental Pollution and Degradation

Mains Question:

Highlighting the growing concern of indoor air pollution in India, discuss how effectively can green buildings help in dealing with it. (10 marks, 150 words).

Causes of Indoor air Pollution:

  • A primary factor contributing to indoor air pollution is the lack of ventilation in conventional buildings.
  • These structures, constructed with synthetic materials, trap pollutants within the enclosed space.
  • Commercial and industrial spaces, such as offices, schools, workplaces, airports, and hotels, are particularly affected due to their inherently tight and intricate structures.
  • The presence of a large number of people in such spaces further exacerbates the deteriorating air quality.

Impact of indoor air pollution:

  • It is crucial to note that neglecting poor IAQ can lead to various health issues, ranging from headaches and eye irritation to fatigue, chronic coughing, and allergic reactions among occupants.
  • Prolonged exposure to poor IAQ can even result in Sick Building Syndrome.
  • Tight building structures, lacking fresh air, can interfere with the concentration and productivity of occupants.

Way Forward:

Space Ventilation:

Given the health repercussions such as breathing difficulties, lethargy, eye pain, and headaches stemming from poor IAQ, it is imperative to prioritize space ventilation for enhanced environmental and public health benefits.

Green Buildings:

  • Green Buildings utilize sustainable strategies to harness renewable energy and increase energy efficiency.
  • This approach significantly contributes to addressing climate change and reducing the carbon footprint.
  • Advanced buildings incorporate green products and technologies, minimizing pressure on HVAC systems and decreasing energy consumption.
  • Additionally, these structures make use of durable, recyclable, and renewable resources, reducing the depletion of natural resources.
  • Smart buildings ensure sustainability not only during construction but also throughout their lifespan.
  • They integrate eco-efficient technologies with innovative designs to enable ventilation, energy recovery, and humidity control.
  • Mechanical ventilation systems are incorporated into the design to ensure a continuous supply of fresh air, preventing the fusion of fresh and polluted air.
  • This approach also addresses moisture issues, preventing the growth of mold and mildew, and maintains the building’s hygiene efficiently.
  • Considering that Green Buildings are a sustainable solution for improved air quality within a building, they should adhere to UN SDG goals and international environmental standards.
  • Certification from prominent institutions such as ASSOCHAM, ECBC, LEED, and the Indian Green Building Council is advisable to ensure compliance with guidelines for reducing carbon footprints.

Conclusion:

As the global focus shifts towards environmental preservation, the demand for Zero-energy buildings is anticipated to rise. By promoting affordable, reliable, and sustainable access to energy, these buildings can bring about a transformative change in urban spaces, supporting resilient and innovative infrastructure for sustainable cities and communities.


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