Sick Building Syndrome is a condition caused by volatile organic compounds (VOC) in large quantities. People and pets release VOCs when they breathe, perspire or digest, but they are also released from other common items, such as carpet, paint, furniture and even printers.
Symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome include headaches and dizziness, nausea, aches and pains, fatigue, poor concentration, shortness of breath, eye or throat irritation and skin irritation. No specific cause is known, but the syndrome is thought to be linked to spending time in a certain building, such as a workplace or your home.
Anyone can be affected by Sick Building Syndrome, and although office workers in modern buildings with mechanical ventilation are most at risk, along with those who do routine work that involves display screen equipment, there have been anecdotal reports of people experiencing symptoms at home too, according to the NHS.
How to measure air quality
There are ways measure VOCs to see whether the air quality in your home or workplace is up to standard, which is the first step in changing it. Elegato's Eve system includes a device called Eve Room that goes beyond measuring CO2.
Eve Room features MEMS sensors to measure VOCs in addition to humidity and temperature sensors. The MEMS sensor will detect and measure VOCs including alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, organic acids, amines, as well as aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, many of which would remain hidden to a simple CO2 sensor.
After analysing the substances that directly affect your well-being, the Eve Room will convert the measured gas concentration into an equivalent CO2 concentration that is easy to understand. You will be presented with a ppm measurement through the Eve app on an iOS device, which will fall into one of five categories: Excellent, Good, Acceptable, Moderate and Poor. Air quality should be Excellent or Good, which means ppm below 1100.
What to do if the air quality in your building not good
The air quality result will depend on the number of people in the room and the ventilation offered.
If you get a good or acceptable result from Eve Room for your building or home when it is unoccupied, it might be worth considering the cleaning products that are used, as well as the materials of the furniture, wall paint or where any printers or copiers are situated.
It may just be a case of moving a printer into another room, replacing plastic furniture or changing cleaning products in order to improve the air quality.
Changes can be made where necessary, whether that requires you talking to your line manager at work or you making the changes yourself at home but it all starts with first gaining the insight, which Eve Room can offer.