Indoor environment quality research

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The quality of the indoor environment is a critical factor in creating a healthy, sustainable home.    It includes aspects such as temperature, relative humidity, ventilation, noise and presence of pathogens and harmful chemicals in the air.

The significant influence of indoor environment quality (IEQ) on health has been increasing established by research projects around New Zealand.  Our scoping report on IEQ in 2006 reviewed much of the research, highlighting the financial and social benefits from health improvements through improving the indoor quality of homes. 

Our National Value Case for Sustainable Housing Innovations also highlighted the benefits for New Zealand as a nation from an improved indoor environment, pointing to a strong driver for New Zealand to build and renovate sustainable homes.

Beacon’s early research programme concentrated on improving the management of temperature, relative humidity and ventilation in New Zealand homes.  We believe that, if our homes were warmer and drier, we would remove many of the other issues with contaminants and pollutants.   Many of the solutions to problems such as biological contaminants focus on moisture control (by insulating, controlling at source, ventilating, and heating).

Our research focused on:

  • setting benchmarks for indoor environment quality in the HSS High Standard of Sustainability®
  • assessing active and passive ventilation solutions for homes
  • a value case for central government intervention on unflued gas heaters