Forum: Important for green buildings to be well-ventilated as well

I refer to the article "Buildings to meet higher standards to be certified green" (Sept 8) on the new Building and Construction Authority Green Mark scheme.

It is timely that our regulators are implementing changes.

In addition to those criteria enumerated in the article, I would like to highlight developments on ventilation intervention measures which have evolved in the wake of the pandemic.

On March 1, the World Health Organisation released a road map specifying minimum targets and measures that businesses and other places can implement to improve ventilation and make buildings safer.

It mentioned that understanding and controlling building ventilation can improve the quality of the air we breathe and reduce the risk of indoor health concerns, including preventing the coronavirus from spreading indoors.

The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention released its updated guidance on June 2 and recommended a layered approach to reducing exposure to Covid-19 and various mitigation strategies, including improvements to building ventilation, to reduce the spread of disease and lower the risk of exposure.

It said viral particles spread between people more readily indoors than outdoors.

Ventilation system upgrades or improvements can deliver more clean air and dilute potential contaminants.

These are in addition to physical distancing, wearing face masks, hand hygiene and vaccination.

Our own National Environment Agency also issued updated guidance on May 25 about improving ventilation and indoor air quality in buildings amid the Covid-19 situation, stating that it is critical to mitigate the risk of exposure by improving ventilation and air quality in indoor environments as the virus is mainly transmitted through respiratory droplets from an infected individual to those around him.

Indoor air quality can also be adversely affected by other pollutants such as fungi, microbial contamination, house dust mites, particulates and chemicals such as formaldehyde.

Hence while it will not eliminate risk completely, it is worthwhile paying additional attention to ventilation interventions and indoor air quality to reduce the risk of exposure and the spread of Covid-19 and other pathogens.

Genevieve Chua Kwee Huay