We were privileged to represent the UK Institute of Environmental Science at the International conference of the Indoor Air Quality Association - IAQA 2014 in Nasville, Tennessee.
The differences in indoor air quality recognition and related public health issues between our two great nations was evident at every stage.
In the US, the health protection provided to tenants and employees is a much more developed industry than that commonly realised here in the UK. Lawyers, insurance companies, public health scientists and surveyors have streamlined the process and service provision - as an example Personal Injury pay-outs for exposure to Aspergillus has now overtaken Mesothelomia (Asbestosis) in the US - multi billion dollar annual payouts! - insurers are insuring against it, Lawyers are busy representing clients and scientists and surveyors are employed in ever increasing numbers empowered with an improved level of competence.
We have pioneered this science in the UK and presided over numerous examples of exposure to these sorts of airborne hazards - unfortunately for public health, not one landlord or employer has contested our findings or wished to go to court. Great for our clients of course - getting compensated, out of court settlements etc.. but no legal prescedent means no public awareness.
Another big difference is that controlled mechanical ventilation comes as standard in an insulated building in the US - similarly in Scandinavia, Germany, Canada, Australia et al. In this country alone we have ensured that new buildings are totally airtight. preventing heat loss, disguised as the government helping householders to reduce their heating bills - we ponder whether the financial implications resulting from our commitment to the Kyoto treaty might be more the incentive - whatever - sealing up your home is great for a number of reasons - mostly financial - but it is often - in fact, ALWAYS to the detriment of indoor air quality.
Heat recovery ventilation at an insulated property is vital - the clause that the UK government relies upon is that as long as a building has openable windows then mechanical ventilation is not required. This is fine when the outdoor weather conditions are warm and dry or when we dont have to worry about security - and overnight!?
This fundamental differences are manifested in the businesses advertising their products and services in Nashville as compared to a similar exhibition and conference here in the UK. There - we find numerous domestic and commercial ventilation companies no air purification systems. Over here - its all air purification systems and a very limited but growing (well done Envirovent!) offering in domestic and smaller commercial HRV.
SAQ has taken the valuable lessons from our trans-atlantic cousins and are now actively recruiting, training, advising legal and insurance professionals and preparing for a busy future.