Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sick Buildings

I feel sick, and it is not the feeling one experiences when sick. The sickness that I am experiencing is the feeling of suffocation whenever I am in my office. No, I am not being strangled, nor am I being exposed to the toxic fumes or cigarette smoke. My sickness arises from the stagnant air flow inside the building; air which seems to be clean air.

Called it the sick building syndrome, there should be an increasing awareness among Singaporeans to focus on the air-conditioners used in homes and offices; especially when Singapore is an almost air-conditioned nation.

For air-conditioned homes, there shall be some fresh air intake into the homes else the owners would be practically breathing in recycled air. For companies using water-cooled chillers with cooling towers, there is a risk of the legionnaire disease which could nevertheless be prevented through proper design of the cooling towers.

Living in this hot and super humid country, Singaporeans love air-conditioners. There is really much to learn about air-conditioning, knowledge which could prove useful and valuable to Singaporeans as the misuse of air-conditioners would inevitably have an adverse effect on our health.

I have seen management of some shopping centres treat their air-handling unit (AHU) room as storerooms or dumping grounds, placing old and dirty disposables and furniture into these dumpling ground. While AHU rooms are normally spacious, these large and empty spaces act as spaces for fresh air intake into the air handling units. Imagine the quality (and the subsequent consequences) of the fresh air supplied into the building if dirty equipment or disposable fill up these spaces!

There should be some education on the use of air-conditioners from the basic installation to operation and maintenance. There is an article today on the free dailies reporting that an owner could not realise electrical savings though he has used branded air-conditioners which come with many energy saving ticks. Again, the lack of air-conditioner knowledge is evident here as energy saving air-conditioners work best at partial load: e.g. using only two out of the four air-conditioners installed at any time and not running the air-conditioners continuously 24 hours.

No comments :

Total Pageviews