CSIRO Report

Fresh air the cure of sick buildings

Australian homes and offices are a major contributor to greenhouse gases and sick building syndrome and a bit of fresh air might just be the answer.

“It’s time we moved back to getting natural ventilation into our homes and offices,” says Chief of CSIRO Building Construction & Engineering
Mr Larry Little.

“Our daily exposure to toxins emitted from indoor products like building materials, office furniture and paints may be costing Australia as much as $12 billion a year due to ill health and lost production.”

“Some of today’s new homes are sealed so well to keep them cool in summer and warm in winter that fresh air changes may not occur often. This can contribute to increases in asthma by providing ideal breeding conditions for dust mites,” Mr Little says.

Common pollutants from materials, people, activities and contents used to build and furnish the home, combined with excess moisture from poor ventilation, can create an unhealthy environment.

Too much moisture can contribute to allergy problems and structural damage by encouraging the growth of mould, mildew, bacteria, dust mites, dry rot and insects. Showers, cooking and people produce large quantities of moisture on a daily basis.

Control of these factors through proper ventilation will enhance the comfort and indoor air quality of the home to help keep the occupants breathing safely. A quality ventilation system also contributes to preserving the structural integrity of the home, reducing maintenance costs and adding to the home’s value.