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Quintain’s The Landsby (Tipi BTR scheme) in Wembley Park

New global benchmark for indoor air quality launches

AirRated – a joint partnership with Metrikus, a smart building platform which aggregates building data – has launched a global benchmark for Indoor Air Quality

With people now spending on average 90 per cent of their time indoors, the aim is to help owners and occupiers of residential new build, public sector (schools, hospitals, libraries etc) and office buildings to better understand, improve and communicate air quality information with their occupants.

Air quality is a vital determinant of our overall health and wellbeing with five million premature deaths caused by breathing poor air according to a report by the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP) . Air quality within buildings is at risk due to the increase in building air tightness for energy conservation and the introduction of many new materials and sources of indoor pollution. A recent study by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Physicians highlighted that children in the UK are being exposed to harmful levels of pollutants throughout their daily lives in the indoor spaces where they live, breath and learn.

AirRated’s AirScore

The AirRated certification is underpinned by peer-reviewed academic research and is aligned to global building standards and health guidelines.

An AirScore is generated following a monitoring period of three weeks and is valid for a period of 12 months. The three-week AirRated environmental survey gathers information about Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) using high specification sensor technology.

Outdoor data from local, in-situ monitoring stations is also gathered, analysed and taken into consideration, as this heavily influences IAQ. Once collected, AirRated’s in-house environmental scientists test these datasets against the AirRated Scoring System, to generate an AirScore.

The AirScore is comprised of five fundamental parameters, these are: PM2.5, CO2, TVOCs, Temperature and Humidity. The three most impactful of which (PM2.5, CO2 and TVOCs) must meet a minimum threshold requirement for 95% of survey hours in order to pass. The ratings are tiered, ranging from ‘AirScore Certified’, ‘Silver’, ‘Gold’ up to the highest level, ‘Platinum’. Following the certification, AirRated can also advise clients on strategies for improving their indoor environments and on communicating this to prospective, buyers, tenants or building occupants.

Francesca Brady Head of Environmental Research at AirRated commented: “Indoor Air Quality can affect so many elements of our lives from sleep and allergies to productivity at work and overall health. For example, the pollutant PM2.5 is so small that it can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause serious implications for the body; the longer you are exposed to high concentrations, the worse it can be. It’s now time for property developers and management companies to take action and responsibility for the air that their residents and occupiers are breathing and take necessary steps to ensure it’s the best it can be for the health of future generations.”

Launching with three high profile case studies, AirRated has monitored and advised three separate pioneering clients on their indoor air quality.

1. Residential – The Landsby, Wembley by Tipi (Quintain)

Results; AirScore (Core): GOLD (8.6)

Landsby West has achieved AirScore (Core) Gold. The new build site performed very well across the Indoor Air Quality parameters measured. This was a result of the quality of the finishes chosen for the furnished apartments (paints, flooring and furnishings) and good building design. There was very little variation in vertical profile which suggests the building is acting well as a ‘buffer’ against the outdoor environment.

Niall Ingham, Head of AirRated commented: “Recent socio-economic changes have led to a population that values health and wellbeing more than ever before. Working with leading developers of new homes, our clients see the value in obtaining their AirScore to leverage the health benefits of high quality indoor air environments. The AirScore has provided the opportunity for our clients to connect with their customer base and provide positive assurances on the quality of their developments.”

2. Commercial – Summit House London, The Office Group

Results; AirScore (In Use): CERTIFIED (7.6)

The Office Group chose their site in Holborn, Summit House, to be AirRated. Summit House was awarded AirScore (In Use) Certified. Of the anonymised datasets currently assessed, the top 66% of buildings achieved at least AirRated Certified. This means that they meet minimum required standards in line with the recommended thresholds as set out by professional bodies such as CIBSE, BREEAM and the World Health Organisation (WHO). As a result of well-planned space design, Summit House maintained CO2 levels conducive to good productivity.

Olga Turner CEO AirRated said: “The coworking movement has grown exponentially in recent years with hundreds of new operators entering the market attempting to gain market share. The Office Group has always remained at the forefront of this movement by offering market leading workspace which exceeds expectations on design and functionality. The Office Group chose to work with AirRated to better understand how the functionality of their spaces could be improved from a health and performance aspect. The AirScore will support The Office Group’s ambition to become a “Productivity as a Service” platform which will become a key piece of their marketing collateral to attract potential occupiers to their spaces.”

3. Public Sector – The Met Office HeadQuarters, Exeter

Results; AirScore (In Use): SILVER (8.4)

The Met Office achieved a very good AirScore for their HeadQuarters in Exeter, which houses circa 2,000 employees. They fall into the top 15% of UK buildings for Indoor Air Quality performance with their Silver standard rating. Along with this award they also achieved AirPureTM which is awarded to a building when it achieves at least one entire day of exceptional PM2.5, with levels below the Platinum threshold of 3ug/m3. PM2.5 is the most harmful pollutant for health and wellbeing and the current guideline set by WHO is 10ug/m3, with a potential revision to halve this. AirPure is a difficult award to achieve and the Met Office is the first and only site (to date) to be awarded this accolade.

Francesca Brady, Head of Environmental Research at AirRated said: “AirRated have recently completed Indoor Air Quality monitoring for The Met Office Headquarters in Exeter, which had primarily been a project to exercise duty of care over staff. Speaking to FM & Technical Services Manager, Ralph James, it is clear that over the past few years the Property Management team have been dedicated to improving and maintaining their buildings’ systems for optimising energy efficiency, sustainability and creating an environment conducive to good health, wellbeing and productivity of the people in their building. The Met Office has been very engaged in the project and should be proud to promote their exceptional space. Despite the HQ being 15 years old, the conscientious property management team recognise this and are always keen to make data-driven changes for improvement.”

AirRated is currently looking at working with schools, hotels and restaurants as it expands its cross-sector expertise.

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