In MULTICOMFORT buildings, indoor air is kept fresh and clean – while harmful pollutants are reduced.

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Air is vital for human life: we can live 30 days without eating, three days without drinking – but only three minutes without breathing.

The fresher the air we breathe, the healthier we feel in the buildings we live, work and play in. Yet we don’t often think about air quality as a factor in building design.

Dust, mold and pollen can quickly reduce the quality of the air we breathe inside a building. And many everyday products contain chemicals that can cause sensory irritation. Common potential sources of indoor air pollution include everything from cleaning and personal care products to printers, materials and furnishings.

In sufficient concentration, pollutants can have a direct infl uence on our health – carbon monoxide fumes, for example, can be lethal. Indoor air pollutants can also often have a sometimes less quantifiable efficient on our wellbeing – we’ve all experienced the discomfort of a bad odor or the feeling of fatigue in a stuffy room.

What’s clear then, is that when we are acoustically comfortable – when unwanted noise is blocked and we can clearly hear beneficial sounds – we’re more productive, happier and experience fewer health issues.


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The UK Environmental Audit Committee believes that air pollution is nearing a ‘public health crisis’, causing nearly as many deaths as smoking. It recommends that new schools, care homes and hospitals should be built far away from major roads because of the dangers of air pollution.

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Source: The biggest ever review of domestic water use in Great Britain, Energy Saving Trust.

44% of UK survey respondents claim to live in homes with draught problems, 37% in homes with condensation problems and 28% in homes with mold.

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What contributes to INDOOR AIR COMFORT?

The presence of airborne pollutants has one of the greatest impacts on indoor air comfort. The fi rst step in controlling indoor air pollution is therefore to remove emissions of primary and secondary pollutants at source. This can be achieved by paying attention to the ingredients of materials brought into any living or working space and, where possible, choosing healthier alternatives (formaldehyde free, natural products).

However, it’s not always economic, practical or even possible to avoid chemicals. So after the maximum has been done to eliminate the problem at source, other factors should also be considered to help improve overall indoor air quality in any type of building.

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An optimum flow of fresh air requires a certain number of air changes per hour, depending on room size, occupancy levels, type of activity. Automated ventilation systems are the most efficient, but natural ventilation (essentially, manual or automated window opening) removes the need for ducting, with initial cost savings, lower running costs and health benefits.

Manual ventilation also delivers the psychological benefi ts of putting the occupant in control and making a connection to the outside world – hearing birdsong, for example, can have a benefi cial impact on mood. Of course, the benefi ts of natural ventilation depend on the natural world in the immediate vicinity of any given building; it may not be the right solution for a building next to a busy road, for example. Hybrid ventilation is growing in popularity: natural ventilation in mid-season and mechanical in more extreme weather conditions.

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Air purification

Filtering incoming and outgoing air helps remove harmful particulates. However, air filters need to be maintained to prevent the ventilation system itself from becoming a source of pollution, rather than the solution.


Source: Environment International

A failure by people to ventilate their homes effectively could lead to the development of increased respiratory problems.*

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Active scavenging materials

Modern construction materials have been specifically developed to actively remove polluting and harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from indoor air.

Click here to learn more about Saint-Gobain’s active scavenging materials.

Lady enjoying tea on a balcony


Acceptable thresholds for indoor air quality have been defined through regulation – but evidence shows that discomfort from poor indoor air quality can arise well below these threshold levels. This makes indoor air comfort a key consideration in the design and planning process of any new building or renovation project.

Good design, proper ventilation and specification of the right building materials are essential to increase the supply of fresh air in a building, and to reduce our exposure to indoor pollutants and odors.


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Source: Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Offices, The next chapter for green building - World green building council.

Research has shown that poor air quality (and elevated temperatures) consistently lowers office workers’ performance by up to 10%, on measures such as typing speed.

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Learn how our bodies experience INDOOR AIR COMFORT

Find out more about the ways we identify, react to and cope with odors and stuffiness.

Explore the other angles of MULTICOMFORT

Thermal Comfort logo - Comfort From Every Angle
Cartoon showing people at different temperatures
Visual Comfort logo - Comfort From Every Angle
Cartoon showing different light levels.
Acoustic Comfort logo - Comfort From Every Ang
Cartoon showing different sounds from everyday life
Indoor Air Comfort Logo - Comfort From Every Angle
Cartoon showing airflow through a house
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