Towards greener spaces: Importance of indoor air quality in real estate

Today, developers recognise the growing interest and need for better IAQ and are willing to remodel their business plans and objectives to deliver IAQ-focused service offerings to their customers



Achieving indoor air quality requires going beyond the specified green building guidelines. — File photo
Achieving indoor air quality requires going beyond the specified green building guidelines. — File photo

By Yousuf Fakhruddin/Viewpoint

Published: Sun 12 Jun 2022, 2:53 PM

There is certainly an increased awareness of the correlation between indoor air quality (IAQ) and health. People are more conscious of healthier spaces and its benefits, making indoor air quality a highly sought-after component and a priority when choosing where they live, work or study.

Under our nation’s visionary leadership for improving the wellbeing of citizens across the country and accelerate the transition to green economy, the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has recently launched the National Air Quality Strategy (2021-31) that lays emphasis on implementation of cleaner and innovative technologies to provide high-quality (IAQ) in buildings. These efforts are focused on developing and improving national air pollution standards, setting up a stellar air quality monitoring network based on artificial intelligence, and investments in smart technologies for detection of contaminants, amongst others. This makes for a compelling call to transform the built environment to provide better air, reduced pollutants, and lesser emissions for everyone.

Today, developers recognise the growing interest and need for better IAQ and are willing to remodel their business plans and objectives to deliver IAQ-focused service offerings to their customers. but there’s still a long road ahead. Achieving indoor air quality requires going beyond the specified green building guidelines. It needs an understanding of the best practices specifically for air quality, then implementing them with the help of smart technology and home automation systems like IoT sensors and other advanced softwares that can analyses the Indoor and Outdoor air quality from time to time.

Some key market forces that are driving the importance of IAQ in real estate are:

• Demand for higher health and safety standards: Fresh breathable air, free of health-threatening contaminants is no longer an alternative, but a necessity given the fact that most of everyone’s time is spent indoors, be it a home or an office or other public spaces. Property buyers or tenants seek as much information as possible about the property before investing. It’s imperative they know that the developer cares about their evolved choices that are eco-friendlier and more sustainable in nature, with IAQ being a key requisite. Exposure to indoor air pollution can have short term or long-term health effects and therefore, deploying smart ventilation strategies that focus on the health and maintenance of indoor air quality becomes the developers responsibility.

• Post Pandemic protocols demand competent ventilation provisions. Many organisations have embraced the work from home culture, or a Hybrid work culture post the pandemic. This means, people are spending more time indoors and need to be assured that the air they breathe indoors, day-in, day-out is clean and free of pathogens, volatile organic compounds and other air pollutants. Hence, it has become important for developers to invest in smart automation technologies that can analyze and monitor the indoor air quality from time to time with sensors and advanced softwares with key focus on the overall health and wellbeing of the occupant.

• Sustainable Strategies and Social Purpose: Responsible real estate is now. With built environments responsible for a good portion of the carbon emissions, the real estate industry has swiftly accelerated its focus on sustainable strategies and social purpose to create places that promote healthy lifestyle, safety and wellbeing. Developers are conscious of the environmental impact of their real estate holdings and are willing to invest more to achieve better sustainable outcomes.

The transition to green economy is certainly a win win for developers and occupants, both can benefit significantly from investing in indoor air quality management systems that protect against long-term liability while at the same time enhancing performance, property value, and return on investment in real estate by devoting improved attention to occupant well-being. At Fakhruddin Properties, we place paramount importance on formulating efficient IAQ preservation initiatives powered by an augmented focus on occupational hygiene and occupant well-being through investment in systems to manage indoor air quality. We strongly believe that it is a crucial step in developing and maintaining healthy environments that will shape the way we live, work, learn, and play.

Yousuf Fakhruddin is chief executive at Fakhruddin Properties. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper’s policy.


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