A survey commissioned by measurement technology company Vaisala shows that people would feel safer with more data on indoor air quality. More than one third of the respondents are concerned about the indoor air quality in their place of work, and more than half said that concerns with indoor air quality impacts their motivation to visit public spaces. Around two thirds of respondents also said that these concerns impact their motivation to travel.
“Vaccination rates are high in the surveyed countries, but the survey revealed high levels of concern with air quality in indoor spaces. We believe this is because, intuitively, people understand that infection risk is higher in indoor spaces where people are in close proximity with each other, and where ventilation is insufficient,” says Anu Kätkä from Vaisala’s product management.
“When people spend too long in a poorly ventilated space, their exhaled breath causes carbon dioxide (CO2) levels to rise. Higher levels of CO2 impact people’s well-being, health and performance, but importantly, monitoring CO2 levels can highlight when the risk of COVID-19 transmission is high and better ventilation is required. By monitoring CO2 levels in indoor spaces, organizations can therefore provide the reassurance that the survey respondents need,” Kätkä explains.
The survey, which included over 4,000 respondents in the USA, France, Germany, and Finland, was conducted in the summer of 2021, studying people’s concerns regarding indoor air during the COVID-19 pandemic. Out of all the respondents, the Finns are the most confident about going back to work: 71% of Finnish respondents feel safe about returning to the workplace. 70% of French respondents feel safe about returning; 65% of American respondents, and just 55% of the German respondents.
Half (50 per cent) of all respondents said that they would feel safer about returning to work with more information about indoor air quality.
“Indoor air does not only affect exposure to airborne diseases but also employees’ energy levels, because exhaled breath increases CO2 levels which, in turn, increase drowsiness,” Kätkä continues.
The survey also studied people’s perception of indoor air quality in public spaces, such as shopping centres, sports facilities, and public transportation. Overall, people are more concerned about indoor air quality in public areas than at their place of work. 50 per cent of all respondents would like more information in the workplace, whereas 60 per cent would like more information on indoor air quality in public spaces.
The concern with indoor air quality in public spaces translates into a reluctance to travel, with 65 per cent of respondents saying that concerns with indoor air quality in public places affect their motivation to travel.
Based on the survey results, indoor air quality is a concern in the mind of at least every third person, and more than half of all the respondents want more information and data on air quality inside those places where they spend time. This means that facility managers face important decisions.
Reliable measurement instruments perform a key role in decision making to prevent the spread of diseases and protect people’s health. The prerequisite for healthy indoor air is efficient ventilation and air conditioning that prevents diseases from spreading, keeps the mind clear, and ensures a healthy environment.