The Invisible Indoor Pollution

Hong Kong people witness the polluted air above the Victoria Harbour everyday. We can’t be more mistaken to think that staying inside the building is the solution to get rid of air pollution. Let’s take a look at some indoor air pollutants as follows:

Sick Building Syndrome

In a modern city like Hong Kong most of us spend over 70% time inside buildings everyday. Apart from our common lifestyle locked in buildings, various minor illnesses are generated from this way of life including headache, eye and skin irritation, coughing, sneezing, fatigue and nausea which are now described as “Sick Building Syndrome”(SBS).

Danger’s Everywhere

A 1984 World Health Organization report on syndromes suggested most of the SBSs are related to poor indoor air quality, toxic mold, artificial fragrance, absence of or only limited access to sunlight,poorly designed furnishings and equipment, chemical or biological contamination.

Symptoms like eye, nose or throat irritation are common responses to the above-mentioned contaminations in a short period while in a long term severe damages to our health such as asthma attacks, allergenic pneumonia can also be caused. In extreme cases, the immune system is affected and a higher chance of cancer may be induced.

Potential Crisis

Sick building causes are frequently pinned down to flaws in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Hong Kong, a city that almost no buildings are built without air conditioning from offices, hotels, residential apartments, shopping malls, hospitals to indoor playgrounds with its soaring population density provides a natural breeding ground to microbes and viruses.

Avian Influenza and SARS burst out in early 2000s have warned Hong Kong people of air conditioning in spreading viruses with life and blood. If we have ever learned a lesson from that, that lesson is to examine the air conditioning system immediately that most of our lives greatly depend on.

The New Concept of Sustainable Immunized Building

Hong Kong people have adopted the idea of fire prevention since the colonial days as it is obvious that fire costs great losses of money and life. Though invisible and usually overlooked, Indoor air pollutions are potentially more dangerous as they cost human health and damage our society in the long term.

Building Health

Hong Kong has survived from SARS and Avian Influenza and witnessed the catastrophic impacts caused by these epidemic diseases. It is no surprise that a new concept called “Sustainable Immunized Building”, raised by Professor Chan Wai-tin from the Department of Building Services Engineering of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University has called for public interest and appealed towide academic interest:

1. Biologically, the ventilations, drainages and air-conditioning systems of the building are just likethe respiratory, digestive and circulatory systems of the human body.

2. Pathologically, study and diagnosis the diseases of the building through examination of its systems and cure with monitoring, like regular body check.

3. Like eating and drinking, everyday the building takes in a great amount of wastes such as carbon dioxide, bacteria, viruses, excretion from human and VOC from building materials and furniture,needs give off.

4. Building Immunization: to reduce the building diseases, in addition to through the measures such as cleaning, pest control, to clean the pipes of the central air-conditioning, it is necessary to set-up an effective indoor air disinfection system.

Get Plan First

Different buildings require different immunization systems according to their structures and measurements. It’s up to property owners, architects and planners, air condition engineers and property managers to choose the right one.

To build with the built-in immunization system, with the least cost and maximum results isobviously an ideal choice in terms of the function, maintenance and repair.

But preplanning is not the reality of Hong Kong and there are a great number of medium and small-sized buildings, BioEm has designed immunization system in 4 types practically for Hong Kong: Centralized Intelligent Disinfectant Immunized System (CIDIS), BioEm Central Air Immunization System, BioEm Immunization System (Industrial Model / Commercial Model).