Leading manufacturer of safety alarms and equipment, Kidde Safety Europe has launched a new carbon dioxide (CO2) monitor to help people to understand and improve indoor air quality in homes, workplaces, schools and hospitality venues. The mains powered non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) monitor complies with the Scottish Building Standards requirements for the mandatory CO2 monitors that must be installed in all homes. Kidde is a part of Carrier Global Corporation (NYSE: CARR), the leading global provider of healthy, safe, sustainable and intelligent building and cold chain solutions. 


Warning users of rising CO2 levels or abnormal humidity or temperature level changes, the new Kidde CO2 Monitor, which has a 10-year lifespan, provides the current CO2 levels from 400 to 5000 parts per million (PPM), as well as a seven day history of CO2 readings. It also shows the current temperature and humidity on the large, easy to read LCD display, which has automatic brightness adjustment to minimise night-time disturbance.


The monitor has been designed to provide clear warnings and indications in several different forms. Detailed air quality information is displayed on the LCD screen. As many people will not be familiar with the acceptable parts per million (PPM) for CO2, the Kidde CO2 monitor provides a ‘traffic light’ LED notification to allow easy identification of the current CO2 levels, even from a distance. Green represents 400 to 999 ppm – which signals good indoor air quality, Orange denotes readings of 1000 to 1499 ppm – indicating deteriorating indoor air conditions associated with poor air quality complaints, and Red displays for readings above 1500 ppm – the level associated with headaches, drowsiness and loss of concentration and where it is necessary to ventilate indoor space as a result. At this level, the monitor’s easily audible built-in alarm clearly alerts occupants to high CO2 levels. For clarity and convenience there is also an optional voice alert, which is available in six selectable languages.


The Kidde CO2 Monitor has been designed for easy set up and installation. It works straight out of the box with a built-in automatic 24 hour CO2 sensor calibration. The monitor is mains powered with a 12-hour rechargeable battery back-up and can be free-standing or wall mounted.


“From sick building syndrome to changes in building standards, to updated guidance for schools and workplaces, there has never been more of a focus on air quality, and in particular carbon dioxide,” said Simon Jones, Marketing Manager at Kidde Safety Europe. “CO2, which is often less commonly recognised as an issue compared with particulate matter pollution and carbon monoxide, can have a serious impact on health and wellbeing. Our new CO2 monitor has been designed to make it as simple as possible for people to be better informed about air quality in the spaces they occupy and allow improvements to be made.”


To find out more about Kidde’s range, please CLICK HERE




A city covered in one million plants and 40,000 trees will soon be built in China to help tackle the long-standing air pollution problem that plagues the country at present.

Designed by Italian architect Stefano Boeri (who was also behind the ‘Vertical Forest’ tower in Milan) the entirely fabricated metropolis will contain over 40,000 trees and one million plants.
At its heart, the scheme is intended to subvert the notion that urban areas are more prone to poor air quality, by introducing natural measures to absorb tons of CO2 and pollutants.

China has long been swamped with poor air quality. Studies show that over a million premature deaths are attributed to pollution in the country each year. Chinese power plants emit as much nitrogen oxides (NOx) as all the cars in the world combined.

In 2016, China declared red alert for air quality in the capital city of Beijing, closing schools and factories and removing 50% of cars from the road for a temporary period. This seems to have served as a wakeup call for the government, who have since introduced a series of measures aimed at curbing their alarming emissions. As well as championing renewables as a form of energy, the authorities are now looking at more innovative solutions. Could the ‘forest city’ be part of the solution to a worsening crisis?

The ‘forest city’ is planned to be built in Liuzhou, Southern China by 2020.

Here’s what it will look like:

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today called on the Government to grant him additional powers so that he can effectively tackle non-road pollution sources in the capital.

Only half of the capital’s air pollution is caused by on-road vehicles and Sadiq believes London needs more powers so that it can combat pollution from the River Thames, emissions from machinery used on construction sites and pollution from the domestic burning of solid fuels.

Since becoming Mayor, Sadiq has more than doubled investment in tackling air quality to £875 million over the next five years. He has also introduced the boldest plans to tackle air pollution in the world, including a £10 Toxicity-Charge (T-Charge) which will start in October this year, the introduction of the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2019 (subject to consultation), and the cleaning up of London’s public transport fleets such as buses and taxis so that they lead the way in ultra-low emission technology.

Sadiq has now written to Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, setting out the additional powers that he believes are required.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said “Non-transport sources contribute half of the deadly emissions in London so we need a hard-hitting plan of action to combat them similar to moves I am taking to reduce pollution from road vehicles.

“With more than 400 schools located in areas exceeding legal pollution levels, and such significant health impacts on our most vulnerable communities, we cannot wait any longer and I am calling on Government to provide the capital with the necessary powers to effectively tackle harmful emissions from a variety of sources.”

The Mayor is requesting new powers in the following areas:

Non-Road Mobile Machinery

Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) such as diggers and bulldozers are currently the second largest source of ultra-fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions in London and the fifth largest source of oxides of Nitrogen (NOx). This is likely to grow as traffic related emissions decline and as construction increases across London.

Sadiq wants greater powers for the capital to enforce the standards of the Non-Road Mobile Machinery Low Emission Zone (NRMM LEZ) – a scheme that uses the Mayors planning powers to impose minimum emissions standards for machinery used on construction sites.

Sadiq does not believe this scheme is as rigorously applied by the boroughs as it could be, especially where they already have stretched resources.

He has already invested £400,000 so that local authorities can better enforce the zone. However, he is keen to ensure that boroughs, or GLA bodies have greater ability to apply the standards.

He also thinks it should be possible for the rules of the NRMM LEZ to be applied across the board to existing planning permissions and to other users of NRMM as the current regulations mean that more than 1,000 sites are not registered and activities such as roadworks and events are not covered at all.

Sadiq also wants either himself, or another appropriate authority, to have the power to set minimum emission and technical standards for all NRMM used in London. This could be done by amending the GLA Act so that the Mayor can use his powers to regulate NRMM in the same way as he can for road vehicles.

In order to support these powers, Sadiq wants the creation and maintenance of a DVLA-style national database for NRMM.

River and canal emissions

There are currently at least five different regulators that play a role in policing emissions. In addition, current emission regulations only apply to new vessels.

With ambitious plans in the growth of traffic on waterways, unless sufficient controls are introduced, the number of people exposed to this source of pollution will only grow.

Sadiq wants to see the regulations simplified so that there is a single regulator with the ability to charge and enforce and a single emissions control framework. The body would also be able to set minimum emission and other technical standards for specific classes or types of vessels. It would also provide clarity for local, national and international shipping accessing the Thames and canals.

In the meantime, Sadiq is leading by example with the vessels that are owned or run by Transport for London (TfL). The new Woolwich Ferries that will be entering in to service next year will be some of the cleanest vessels working on the river. TfL will also shortly be retro-fitting a Thames Clipper boat with emissions-reduction technology. If successful, this could provide an important example of how existing boats can reduce their pollution.

The Mayor currently does not have any formal powers to control emissions from vessels on the River Thames or the canal network but has recently set up a Thames and London Waterways Forum, which will bring together the regulators and other stakeholders to ensure that growth in the use of London’s waterways is co-ordinated and sustainable.

Wood and solid fuel burning

Current controls on emissions from domestic burning of solid fuels like wood and coal are obsolete, with the definitions barely revised from the original Clean Air Act of 1956. For example, terms like ‘dark smoke’ and ‘smokeless’ don’t reflect a modern understanding of pollution – which can be invisible.

The Mayor’s recently published Environment Strategy set out his ambition to reduce emissions from this source, but without reform of the existing Clean Air Act this is likely to be limited in impact.

The Mayor wants the Clean Air Act to be amended to allow for the creation of zones where the burning of solid fuel is not allowed. These would complement his existing plans to create transport zero emission zones in small areas from 2025 onwards. In addition, the Clean Air Act should be reformed, so the Mayor can set tighter emission limits for new domestic heating appliances like wood burning stoves for pollutants such as PM10 and PM2.5 that are invisible and are known to have a detrimental effect on health.

To ensure these new zones are effectively implemented, local authorities should be given enhanced powers to ensure compliance, including the ability to inspect and enforce, such as by issuing penalty charge notices. Similar powers could also be used to address emissions from larger and commercial premises.

The Stove Industry Alliance and Woodsure, the UK’s woodfuel accreditation scheme, have recently launched their voluntary “ecodesign ready” and “Ready to Burn” labels for stoves and fuels to help consumers make the right choice in London and other smoke control areas. The Mayor believes that more should be done to empower consumers to make the right choice, including better information at the point of sale and mandatory labelling of products that are legal to use in smoke control areas.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has expressed his ‘deep concern’ about the impact of Britain leaving the European Union on the environment – and on air pollution in particular.

In an official report about the impact of Brexit on London, the Mayor calls on ministers to ‘guarantee’ that environmental regulations, monitoring and enforcement standards will be strengthened in the aftermath of Brexit, rather than weakened.

European Union regulations have overall had a hugely positive impact on Britain’s environment. They have led to British homes, vehicles and appliances becoming more energy-efficient, waterways becoming cleaner, a decline in harmful emissions and a reduction in the amount of waste produced in Britain.

Only last year, European Union regulations were used in a legal case by Client Earth, in which the Mayor was an interested party, to force the government to come forward with a new air quality strategy by the end of March – bringing quality back within legal limits.

However, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Andrea Leadsom MP, recently told Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee that only two-thirds of EU environmental regulations would be directly brought into British law.

Furthermore, there are serious challenges to recreating monitoring and enforcement schemes that are currently run by the EU – and have no equivalent in British law.

The Mayor, in London’s official response to the government’s Brexit White Paper, is calling on the government to introduce a new Environment Act, to guarantee that environmental regulations and enforcements are at least equivalent, if not better, than the current EU standards.

This would include enshrining key EU safeguarding principles in British law, including the ‘polluter pays’ concept, ‘environmental rights for citizens’ and the ‘precautionary principle’ – so lack of knowledge is not used as an excuse for poor decisions.

Sadiq is also asking for a guarantee that recently announced EU policy – which has yet to be enshrined in UK law – including the recent Winter Package on energy efficiency and renewable energy, will be transposed into British law as part of the Great Repeal Bill.

The Mayor has made tackling London’s dangerously polluted air a key plank of his administration in City Hall. He has announced plans for a new T-charge on the most polluting vehicles from October, is consulting on introducing the world’s first Ultra-Low Emission Zone in 2019 and on extending it to the North and South Circular, is introducing Clean Bus Zones on the most polluted roads and has announced his intention to clean up London’s entire bus fleet by 2020.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said “I campaigned for Britain to remain in the European Union, but I accept that the British public voted to leave and we now must respect their democratic will.

“However, the British people did not vote to make our air more polluted or our environment dirtier.

“Our relationship with the EU has been particularly important for London’s environment. Our homes, vehicles and appliances are more energy-efficient, our water is cleaner and better protected, harmful emissions are on a long term decline and we produce less waste. This has all been helped by environmental protections and targets driven by EU directives, regulations and standards.

“The Government should legislate for a new Environment Act to ensure that the UK has an equivalent or better level of protection than in the EU, enshrining key environmental safeguarding principles such as polluter pays, environmental rights for citizens and the precautionary principle. It should also ensure that the necessary powers and resources are devolved to the authorities best placed to tackle their environmental issues and targets.

“I have made it clear that air quality is a key priority for my administration and Londoners need complete assurance of no reduction in regulatory standards and protections in this or other environmental areas. They must be strengthened rather than weakened.”

Sam Lowe, Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said “Brexit can’t be allowed to undermine environmental progress, which is why government must commit to bringing EU environmental laws and principles into UK law. That’s just a first step, they then need to create the domestic institutions so that these laws are enforceable. Continued cooperation and collaboration on the environment with our EU neighbours must also be a priority in the Brexit negotiations.

“The fact is that climate change and air pollution transcend national borders, so they demand coordinated action at a regional and international level – Brexit won’t change that.”

Leah Davis, acting director at Green Alliance and chair of the Greener UK coalition, said: “With 80 per cent of the UK’s environmental laws having been developed with the EU, leaving the EU will be a pivotal moment to restore and enhance the UK’s environment. Today, nature is struggling and the air in our cities is dangerous to breath.

“We will need to secure the benefits of existing environmental laws as we leave the EU, and we will need to go further still, with ambitious new milestones for environmental restoration and high standards for pollution and resource efficiency. While the Greener UK coalition is ready and willing to play its part, it is vital that governments and politicians lead, and we welcome the Mayor’s leadership on this.”

A new study from price comparison website MoneySuperMarket visualises the way people across the world affect the environment

  • Britain has a greener population than France, Germany and the United States – but is only 16th in Europe for green living and 53rd worldwide
  • Air pollution in the UK is more than double that of the US – and linked to 40,000 early deaths a year

A new study from MoneySuperMarket today reveals how people impact their environment, both in the UK and throughout the world. The new research highlights the individual contribution to the world’s climate – as well as highlighting areas for improvement for each country.

Britain managed to rank 53rd overall for individual impact on the world*, boasting a greener population than France, Germany and the United States. Overall, the UK is only 14% worse on an average score than Mozambique, the top-scoring country for environmental awareness, and 51% better than Trinidad & Tobago, the worst.

But the country shows up poorly when it comes to energy usage – only 22 per cent of UK energy is green, so even low usage has a higher impact in the world compared to Bhutan or Albania, where energy is nearly 100% green.

The French perform even worse, with green power at a low-ranking 17 per cent of their total usage. They also throw away seven per cent more waste than the UK every day.

And while Ireland is near the bottom of the rankings (99th overall) due to high waste and mid-level wastewater treatment, our air pollution is more than double. The United States, too, rank lower than Britain at 101st, but their air pollution is only 2.9µg/m3, compared to our 7.6µg/m3. This air pollution is linked to over 40,000 early deaths in the UK a year**.

Britain Among the Worst in Europe for CO2

Despite somewhat positive overall standing for per-person CO2 emissions, the UK’s results are poor compared with much of Europe, with 71% of other continental countries producing less of the greenhouse gas per capita.

9% of the UK’s CO2 emissions emanate from the capital each year, with industrial contributions only 22% higher than domestic.

Landfill Concerns

Previous UK policies have attempted to reduce the size of landfill, with limited success. Only 25% of municipal waste in the UK is recycled, with 49% being sent directly to landfill.

The average British citizen throws away 1.79kg of municipal solid waste a day – a higher amount than 50% of other European countries, including Sweden and the Czech Republic, and higher than anywhere in South America or Asia, with the exclusion of Sri Lanka.

As well as being an eyesore and damaging to the immediate local environment, landfills produce copious quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas with 21 times the effect on global warming of CO2.

“We wanted to know what our personal input to the environment was,” said Stephen Murray, Energy Expert at, “Everyone wants to get their carbon footprint down, but now we can see exactly how the UK compares to the rest of the world – it really puts it in perspective.”

Using the interactive map you can view the breakdown of the different measurements that make up the average individual human impact in each country, including energy consumption, air pollution and reliance on non-renewable energy, see the MoneySuperMarket human impact interactive map here.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the leaders of the five UK cities worst affected by air pollution (Leeds, Derby, Southampton, Birmingham and Nottingham) have called on the Prime Minister to take urgent action to clean up the country’s toxic air.

Every year in Britain 40,000 people die early as a result of air pollution and research from London demonstrates the resulting health effects disproportionately impact the most deprived communities.

For the first time, Sadiq Khan and the leaders of Derby, Nottingham, Leeds, Birmingham and Southampton have written to Theresa May urgently calling for:

  • making vehicle manufacturers more accountable for emissions – with a zero-tolerance approach to malpractice, following the recent Volkswagen scandal;
  • national minimum emissions standards for private hire vehicles to ensure local requirements are not undermined;
  • greater regulation powers over the use of diesel generators;
  • a new 21st century Clean Air Act which will update existing legislation;
  • enshrining the ‘right to clean air’ in law after the UK leaves the European Union; and
  • unlocking new powers for local authorities, particularly regarding limiting construction and river emissions.

The letter describes the government’s current £3 million fund for local authorities to clean up their air as “woefully inadequate” and criticises the uncertainty around funding for transport schemes for preventing accurate and detailed planning in the long-term.

It also underlines the fact air pollution is not a problem local authorities can solve alone, they need government to devolve powerful fiscal incentives such as Vehicle Excise Duty and create a national diesel vehicle scrappage fund.

It comes as the government prepares to consult on a new national air quality plan to meet legal limits for nitrogen dioxide as soon as possible, following the recent High Court ruling against its previous plan.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said “The quality of the air we breathe, both in London and in major cities across the UK, is killing thousands of people every year and is creating a national health emergency. As city leaders, we are doing what we can to tackle this problem, but the fact is we are fighting with one arm tied behind our backs and lasting progress will only be made if national government matches the ambitious action we are taking. The time for urgent action is now.”

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Councillor John Clancy, added “Air pollution is now a public health crisis in this country and we need real leadership from the Government. Our towns and cities are keen to tackle this issue but we must be given the tools and funding needed to secure the future health of our citizens. The time for action is now.”

The Mayor of London has proposed to implement a wide-ranging package of measures to clean up London’s air, including a £10 toxicity charge – or ‘T-charge’ – for the most polluting vehicles later this year.

  • Respiratory illnesses cost European Governments 82 billion Euros per year according to new German research
  • Velux Group calls for healthier homes across UK and Europe

84 million Europeans live in homes that are too damp, causing respiratory illnesses such as asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), according to new research from the German institute Fraunhofer IBP.

European governments’ expenditures on asthma and COPD in terms of hospitalisation, loss of productivity and medical treatment amounts to 82 billion Euros each year, according to the research.

In light of the findings, the VELUX Group is calling for healthier homes to be a central consideration for the new European framework for national building legislations, which will affect UK house builders once implemented.

The research from FraunhoferIBP, reveals the socio-economic costs of asthma and COPD, which are proven effects also of living in damp and unhealthy buildings. The costs are 82 billion Euros annually, covering European governments’ direct expenses on medical treatment and additional care for patients in- and outside of hospitals, as well as indirect costs due to loss of productivity.

The study also reveals that close to 84 million Europeans live in damp or mouldy dwellings, which increases their risk of having respiratory diseases and life-long allergies by 40%. This proves the number of people living in unhealthy buildings remains an issue, despite recent awareness of the correlation between indoor environment and human health.

“We are convinced that the development of respiratory illnesses as a result of damp buildings can be reduced, and it is now clearer than ever that the legal framework for buildings needs to support healthy indoor climates in new and existing buildings. This way, human lives could be improved, and it is also good for the economy too,” says Grant Sneddon, Product Manager, VELUX® GBI.

Sneddon points to the upcoming revision of Energy Performance of Buildings Directives, EPBD, under the Energy Union, where the framework for national building legislations will be set.

“It is a big concern to see that very many people spend their everyday lives in damp and unhealthy homes. What is more, the new research reveals for the first time that 2.2 million citizens have asthma directly because they live in unhealthy buildings,” says Prof. Dr. Gunnar Grün, head of department for energy efficiency and indoor climate at Fraunhofer IBP.

Fraunhofer’s research, based on a cross-sectional study, questionnaires and in-depth case studies across 32 European countries, estimates that the number of Europeans living in damp and unhealthy dwellings could be reduced by 50% by 2050, which could reduce the number of people with associated respiratory diseases by 25%. In the case of asthma, this could lead to a reduction of 550,000 people.

How to prevent dampness in homes

According to the Fraunhofer institute dampness is one of the main defects in buildings across Europe, primarily caused by inadequate building structures and home owners’ lack of attention to ventilate sufficiently. As a consequence, mould is likely to grow, however the risk of this can be reduced significantly by choosing the right building fabrics during renovations.

In April 2016 the VELUX Group completed the RenovActive project in Belgium, a home renovation based on Active House principles focusing on the building’s architectural quality, human health, comfort and well-being, energy efficiency, and environmental benefits.

A key element in the modernization is the prevention of indoor dampness and mould, which is ensured by a natural and continuous airflow in the house. Read more about RenovActive by clicking here.

The Fraunhofer IBP white paper, ‘Towards an identification of European indoor environments’ impact on health and performance,’ is now available here.

Buildingspecifier considers the growing threat to indoor air quality, as well as ways in which it can be controlled and improved.

We frequently hear architects on property programmes referring to big windows “bringing the outside inside” as if they’ve just invented glass for the first time, but how much attention do designers pay to the fact that outside air is what we inevitably end up breathing while we are inside our homes or places of work?

While it might seem quite an amusing parallel to Ben Elton’s “Gasping,” to read of Leo De Watts, 27, selling air collected in the British countryside to the wealthy inhabitants of polluted cities such as Shanghai and Beijing for £80 a jar, the fact remains that air pollution in several areas of the UK is breaching EU safety limits. Alarmingly, 38 of Britain’s 43 air quality zones are exceeding EU safety limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels which will, inevitably, supply the air changes to our homes, schools, shops and public buildings.

Again we are told repeatedly that modern buildings are becoming more airtight, but as physicists have always stressed, “nature abhors a vacuum” so the tiniest change in pressure from inside to out will encourage airflow through all the tiny cracks and crevices which still exist around the building envelope. Even the Retrofit for the Future properties which were generally cocooned in Exterior Wall Insulation, or the super insulated PassivHaus buildings all still exhibit easily measurable air leakage rates at pressures of 50 Pascals.

As is the case with so many aspects of life in Britain, the agenda is being driven using targets set by Brussels, and as recently as last April the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Government should be taking immediate action to address infringement of health guidelines.

Law firm ClientEarth, which last year forced the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to come up with fresh plans to tackle illegal nitrous dioxide levels in British cities, warned that it would seek urgent court action because thousands of people’s lives could be being put at risk if present Government plans were not strengthened.

Not only are swathes of our cities failing European limits on harmful NO2 gases, which are mostly caused by diesel traffic, but the pollution is blamed for nearly 9,500 premature deaths each year in London alone; due to population densities and the number of people living or working near busy roads. According to Public Health England, the percentage of premature deaths attributable to micro particulates known as PM2.5s rose to 5.3% in 2013 in England from 5.1% in 2012. This death rate in London rose to 6.7% from 6.6%.

Under new plans revealed before Christmas, Defra promised Clean Air Zones for five cities by 2020 in addition to one already planned for London. In fact figures revealed that London’s Oxford Street had the worst NO2 levels in the world due to diesel buses; and one has to feel concern for the shop workers breathing in the fumes on a daily basis inside the buildings where most doors remain not just “open all hours” but all year. Hot air curtains might protect the indoor temperature, but not its quality. Furthermore it will still take at least five years to clean up pollution in many cities, including Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

The Clean Air Zones will be centred on areas of each conurbation where the air quality problem is most serious. These zones will aim to reduce the pollution in city centres by encouraging the replacement of old, polluting vehicles with modern, cleaner ones. Similar zones in Germany and Denmark have been shown to lead to an improvement in air quality. These zones will not affect private car owners, but will see the most polluting vehicles, like old buses, taxis, coaches and lorries discouraged from entering the targeted areas through imposing charges.

Furthermore, the Government’s scientific advisers on the issue, the committee on the medical effects of air pollutants, are expected to conclude later this year that across Britain up to 60,000 early deaths annually can be attributed to the main two pollutants (ozone and NO2).

The figure would represent a doubling on the current 29,000 from PM2.5s, and would put air pollution much closer on the risk list to smoking, which kills around 100,000 people a year.

It might be seen as ironic that smoking has actually been banned from most buildings – including bars, restaurants, shops, transport hubs and almost all workplaces – when deadly diesel fumes and other pollutants penetrate so many properties, but there are still plenty of measures which can be taken to improve indoor air quality overall.

Indeed there are numerous mechanical and non-mechanical products on the market which will help remove particulates, irritants, allergens and even noxious gases from the air that we breathe.

Interestingly, back in January, Waverley’s editorial team was invited to view the research and development facilities established by building services specialist, Zehnder at its premises in Camberley.
And although the main focus for the visit was the intriguingly named Flat 51 which forms part of the company’s comprehensive ‘visitor experience centre’; the press was also informed that the headquarters stands just a stone’s throw from a significantly large sewage farm. Happily you would never know from any smell inside the building, while the one bedroom apartment which serves as a testbed for some very sophisticated heating and mechanical ventilation systems, is actually named after the firm’s rigid ducting system.

As well as the Paul brand offered by Zehnder, specifiers could look to use one of the MVHR systems produced by Vent Axia, Polypipe Ventilation, Johnson and Starley, Nuaire or others. And of course these can be utilized in tandem with in-line filtration.

Alternatively, positive input ventilation (PIV) – again available from some of the above named companies – can be set to filter incoming air before blowing it into the occupied spaces. This has the benefit of forcing out moisture laden air and thereby helping to combat mould growth in areas like kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms where it contributes to respiratory conditions.

Commercial air conditioning systems normally offer a big step up in standards of filtration from most domestic equipment, but arguably top of the tree are the type of clean-room installations required for medical laboratories, pharmaceutical production and other highly sensitive industrial facilities.

When raising the bar this high in terms of indoor air quality it is essential to call on expert design and build contractors, such as CDC who can advise on what are also sometimes referred to as aseptic suites. And of course those who work in such environments have to wear medical type garb to prevent their own skin cells contaminating the air.

Returning to domestic scale designs, a new ‘hermetic homes’ policy has been thought up by the Department for Communities and Local Government and is now being forced on councils. The hope is to transform Britain’s 1,400 square miles of air pollution zones back into land that is suitable for building. Developers are now being told that they will only get permission to build on specific sites around the country if they work to stop polluted air getting into the building – one way being to specify windows that cannot be opened, along with mechanical ventilation systems as outlined earlier.

One of these sites is right next door to the four-lane A23 Purley Way in Croydon, south London, which is set to house a primary school, to be finished this autumn.

The same site was abandoned as unsuitable for young children five years ago, when the previous education establishments there were closed and moved to a less polluted environment.

However the Harris Federation, sponsoring academy group, has already issued literature publicizing its intention to open on the Purley Way site in September 2016. The school insists it will be able to protect children with the locked windows and filtered air.

Perhaps we should leave the last work to Simon Birkett, founder and director of campaign group Clean Air in London, said it was “breathtaking [sic] that toxic air pollution in the capital had breached the legal limit for the whole calendar year within the first few days of 2016.” He continued: “Worse, several air pollution monitors have been vying for the dubious honour of recording the first officially monitored breach of the NO2 legal limit in the world in 2016. Put simply, diesel exhaust is the biggest public health catastrophe since the Black Death”.

Written by Juliet Woodcock