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Salvedge seeks solution to indoor air pollution crisis

We are increasingly aware of the dangers posed by air pollution in the great outdoors – it’s clear to see our towns and cities are choked with car fumes, for example. But indoor air pollution is also a major issue – and can be deadly. An estimated 6.5 million deaths were attributed to a combination of indoor and outdoor air pollution in 2012 (WHO 2016 report). That’s why Salvedge has rounded up a team of academic and software engineering partners to seek funding for a solution to the toxic air that pervades our homes, schools and offices.

The project aims to develop a new technological capability using a combination of biophilic design strategies and circular economy principles, for improving indoor air quality and thus the life cycle of a building.

The focus will be on improving the health and well-being of a buildings' occupants, by using technology to highlight, for example, potential levels of toxicity indoor; or waste issues posed by certain construction materials, products and finishes before they have arisen. These problems are often ignored because of lack of time and information, or addressed retrospectively after a building is completed.

The innovation lies in illustrating how and when strategic interventions can be made in the key early stages of the design process, i.e. pre-construction, to help alleviate some of these problems.

Why now?

In a 2018 UN Report, it was estimated that by 2030 over 50%, (approximately 4.5 billion) of the world's population will live in 43 MEGA cities, with populations of over 10 million. It seems obvious to us that in future, architects and designers should create buildings and cities that support our health and wellbeing.

One solution for this can be found in the holistic redesigning of our built environment, to reconnect more with nature, through biophilic design; which is vital for a fulfilled and healthy life. Most architects and designers have heard of the benefits that biophilic design, and the circular economy (reducing material wastage) can bring, but few know how to implement them. If biophilia is implemented correctly, it creates a harmonious link between all aspects of the natural world, both inside and out.

Research shows that sometimes there can be up to five times more pollutants in indoor air, than outdoor. These include airborne allergens from mould spores and pollen, to toxins inherent in many paint finishes, ceiling tiles, textiles, flooring, cleaning and adhesive products.

As we spend most of our lives inside buildings, the main objective of this project is to provide the construction Industry with technological capabilities which will help them address the potential problems of air-pollution inside our buildings and simultaneously reduce construction material wastage.

Partners: Salvedge; Steve Edge and Dr Maria Caserio; Dr Paul Kingston of K8T Ltd; Professor Shujun Zhang, Dr William Sayers and Dr Rachel Sumner. University of Gloucestershire;

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