According to a study titled Healthy Workspaces for Healthier People by GBCI India and Saint-Gobain Research India, 73% of the workspaces across nine Indian cities did not meet the prescribed limits of indoor air contaminants.

Studies says that 73% offices in India non-complaint with prescribed limits of indoor air contaminant

Carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were the most common non-compliant indoor air contaminants, followed by particulate matter (PM) and formaldehyde (CH2O). Poor lighting and lack of access to good outdoor views from workstations were found to be other prevalent issues, it noted.

The study covered 30 offices located in nine Indian cities covering three major climatic zones and included a mix of green certified and non-certified spaces owned by private and government agencies.

Out of the 30 offices studied, only one had all the indoor air contaminants within limits prescribed by standards. Both indoor-generated contaminants and those entering from the outdoors were a concern due to the adverse impact they have on occupant health.

The main factors linked with occupants feeling fatigued at the end of the day were lack of access to good outdoor views, poor thermal comfort conditions and high levels of indoor background noise.

Inadequate design, operation and maintenance practices and building managers’ and occupants’ lack of awareness on IEQ are the reasons behind poor quality indoor environments in most offices.

As many as 67% of the offices had NO2 levels higher than the recommended threshold. Chemical filters that can remove NO2 from outdoor air were found in only 10% of the spaces.

The concentration of Particulate Matter (PM), which is a major health risk in most urban areas of India, was higher than the threshold in 63% of spaces and 40% of the spaces did not have filters installed to trap fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

Almost 45% of the survey respondents reported experiencing eye irritation, fatigue, dizziness, coughing and other symptoms which can be attributed to poor indoor air quality.

As many as 64% of offices had lighting levels lower than what is recommended. Also, 60% of the survey respondents reported problems related to their eyes. Eye strain was the main problem reported, which is due to low lighting conditions.

As high as 74% of people reported no external views or only poor-quality views from their workstations. People with good outdoor views had higher energy levels at the end of the day and reported fewer sleep-related problems than those with poor or no views.

In most buildings that were studied, occupants had no or partial control over temperature set points resulted in thermal discomfort.

In 73% of spaces, levels of interior background noise were higher than the standard threshold. The proximity of HVAC equipment, inadequate noise isolation for equipment rooms and exposed ceilings with open ductwork were the main reasons for high interior noise levels. Ceilings treated with acoustics tiles performed best in optimizing the echo or reverberation time (RT) in the space, the study said.