According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the term Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is used to describe “situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.” The complaints may be localized in a particular room or zone, or may be widespread throughout the building.
According to WebMD, Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) affects millions of people every year. However, because of the nature of the condition, it can be difficult to establish that a particular health issue is the result of Sick Building Syndrome. Instead, most often a structure is found to have SBS based upon looking at the type and frequency of symptoms displayed by the works inside of the building as well as an inspection of the HVAC system and air circulation system.
Millions of men and women every year battle through mysterious symptoms and illnesses at work. Strangely, most of these symptoms seem to vanish once they leave the building. These people are suffering from Sick Building Syndrome, a poorly understood condition caused by the structures these people work in day after day.
Neglecting building indoor air quality while pursuing other energy efficiency goals, such as tighter building envelops, can result in building environments that negatively impact the health, comfort and productivity of occupants (sick building syndrome) and therefore defeat the overall goal of building design, including reduced costs. Smoking areas, schools, labs, hospitals and positive pressure buildings will need even higher attention due to their higher ventilation rates requirements. Fresh air ventilation using a dedicated mechanical outdoor air system became a very important component for modern HVAC system design. The HVAC designer must therefore implement creative solutions to meet both conflicting requirements in an optimum manner.
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