International survey indicates high level of public concern about indoor air quality during the COVID-19 pandemic
Aug 20 2021
A recent survey commissioned by Vaisala indicates that most people would feel safer with more data on indoor air quality. The survey, with over 4,000 respondents from the USA, France, Germany, and Finland, was conducted over the summer of 2021, to establish the level of public concern regarding indoor air during the pandemic. More than 30% of the respondents were worried about indoor air quality at their place of work, while over 50% stated that concerns over indoor air quality affected their desire to visit public spaces. Approximately 65% of those surveyed said that concerns over indoor air quality also impacted their decisions concerning travel.
“Vaccination rates are high in the surveyed countries, but the survey revealed high levels of concern with air quality in indoor spaces. We believe this is because, intuitively, people understand that infection risk is higher in indoor spaces where people are in close proximity with each other, and where ventilation is insufficient,” says Anu Kätkä from Vaisala’s product management.
The respondents would like to see more data on indoor air quality at their places of work.
Out of all the people surveyed, the Finns would appear to be the most confident about going back to work: 71% of them feel safe about returning to work. 70% of French respondents felt comfortable about returning; 65% of US-based respondents, but only 55% of the Germans surveyed.
50% of all respondents would feel safer about going back to work with more data on indoor air quality.
Indoor air quality is monitored by devices that can measure CO2, humidity, and temperature, along with several other optional parameters that can be used to automatically instruct ventilation and building management systems to optimise indoor air quality.
“Indoor air does not only affect exposure to airborne diseases but also employees’ energy levels, because exhaled breath increases CO2 levels which, in turn, increase drowsiness,” Anu Kätkä continues.
Is indoor air quality monitoring required in public spaces?
The survey also examined public perception of indoor air quality in public spaces, for example: shopping centres, gyms, cinemas and public transport. Generally speaking, the public are more concerned about indoor air quality in public areas than at work. While 50% of respondents would like more data in their workplaces, 60% would like more information on indoor air quality in public spaces.
These concerns over indoor air quality in public spaces perpetuates a reluctance to travel, with 65% of people surveyed stating that worries over indoor air quality in public places is an important factor in their motivation to travel.
Educational establishments, shopping centres, restaurants, train stations and airports will all benefit from precise indoor air quality monitoring. Viruses will travel faster when the air is dry however, humidity can also have adverse effects on people’s health. It is therefore more important than ever to monitor and maintain optimal indoor air conditions, whilst sharing data with all stakeholders, including staff and members of the public.
The public want more accurate data on indoor air
Judging by the results of the survey, indoor air quality is a concern of one in three people, and over half of the respondents would like to see more information on air quality inside places where they spend their work and leisure time. This creates important choices for facility management.
“In recent years, many countries have implemented regulations concerning the monitoring of indoor air quality parameters such as CO2. These regulations are designed to ensure optimal air quality, but in order to achieve this goal, accurate and science-based data is essential,” explains Kätkä.
Reliable measurement instrumentation plays a major role in decision making to eliminate the spread of diseases and protect public health. Reliable ventilation and air conditioning enables healthy indoor air, prevents diseases from spreading while keeping the mind clear, and ensuring a healthy environment.
Further details of the indoor air survey
This survey was carried out from June 21, 2021 to July 11, 2021 in collaboration with the market research company Norstat in Finland, France, Germany, and the USA. The survey included approximately 1,000 people in each country, and the respondents included both men and women aged between 18 to 65.
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