In this article featuring in Green Lodging News , the lodging industry’s leading environmental news source, Dr. Emer Duffy examines the factors that affect indoor air quality (IAQ) in hotels and the statregies that can be implemented to create a healthy hotel.
Why is a Healthy Hotel important?
Poor IAQ can impact sleep quality and reduce cognitive function. A recent study showed reduced decision-making performance in workers exposed to high levels of carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Many guests stay and work in hotels during business trips, where a healthy indoor air environment is important to their work productivity.
Travelers and workers expect a comfortable and healthy hotel environment to work, relax and sleep in but the concentrations of some pollutants in indoor air are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. Exposure to indoor air pollution can cause symptoms like headaches, poor concentration, and irritation to the eyes, nose, or throat. Poor IAQ is a particular concern for those affected by asthma and allergies, for whom certain pollutants can trigger a range of symptoms, from sneezing and watery eyes to more serious symptoms such as swelling in the throat and trouble breathing. Ensuring good indoor air quality while maintaining building comfort is an essential part of providing a healthy hotel environment.
What factors influence a Healthy Hotel?
Airflow and ventilation are important factors in IAQ (and thermal comfort) in hotels. Building materials, furnishings, flooring, and paint can release volatile chemicals into the air over time. Cleaning products and textiles can be sources of irritant or sensitizing chemicals. Carpet and fabric covered items such as bedding may harbor dust mites. There may also be a variety of allergens present in indoor air, including mold, dust mites and pet dander (pet fur is carried around on people’s clothing). High indoor humidity can promote mold and dust mite proliferation.
Dr. Emer Duffy
Dr. Emer Duffy is Science Lead at Allergy Standards Ltd (ASL) where she develops and maintains the certification standards behind the asthma & allergy friendly Program. Dr. Duffy holds a PhD in analytical chemistry from the University of Tasmania and has published 20 peer-reviewed research articles in the areas of indoor air pollution, dermatology, and materials science. She has won several awards during her scientific career, including a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship and the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Award.
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