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Scientists and engineers join forces to champion building ventilation

An international awareness campaign to promote ‘the critical role of better building ventilation’ in supporting health, wellbeing, and productivity, has been launched by a coalition of scientists, academics, engineering bodies, and environmental activists.

The first annual World Ventil8 Day (#WorldVentil8Day) will take place on 8 November, and will involve a series of ‘in person’ and online events and discussions around the world.

Spearheaded by leading ‘healthy building champion’, Professor Cath Noakes OBE, Professor of Environmental Engineering for Buildings at the University of Leeds, the campaign is being driven by UK bodies, BESA (the Building Engineering Services Association), CIBSE (the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers), IMechE (the Institution of Mechanical Engineers), and FETA (the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations)

They are working in partnership with international partners, AREA (the umbrella body for European contractors’ organisations), ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers), and UNEP (the United Nations Environment Programme), to name a few. UK academics backing the initiative include representatives from the universities of Nottingham, Leeds, Loughborough, Sheffield, Strathclyde, and Imperial College London, many of whom are part of the  Future Urban Ventilation Network.


The overarching ambition is ‘Improving Ventilation for a Healthier World’, and this year the theme aims to ‘celebrate ventilation’ through a series of events and knowledge sharing. The campaign will – those involved say – ‘showcase powerful scientific and practical evidence demonstrating how good ventilation can reduce exposure to air pollutants and infectious diseases, which aids human productivity, improves sleep, and reduces mould and damp in buildings’.

“Good ventilation is part of creating a sustainable and low carbon environment, by using technology well to balance air quality, energy use and comfort,” said Professor Noakes. “It is critical to making buildings more resilient to health threats, including our regular battles with the transmission of colds and flu around crowded indoor spaces.”

As well as showcasing the range of ventilation solutions available to building owners and occupiers, World Ventilation Day will ‘recognise the skilled people who implement the measures and strategies used to make buildings healthier and safer’ – highlighting the need for training and recruiting more skilled people to take on this growing global task.

Its website ( includes a range of free resources, including ‘top facts’ about ventilation’s role, and different methods that can be adapted depending on the age, design, location, and purpose of the building.  It also explains how building operators can manage ‘the complex trade-off’ between ventilation, energy consumption, climate change, urban pollution, noise, comfort, and security.

Organisers are encouraging people to get involved by following their social media (Twitter @WorldVentil8Day, Instagram @WorldVentil8Day and LinkedIn /WorldVentil8Day),  and using the hashtags #WorldVentil8Day & #CelebrateVentil8 in their own posts. Resources will be available on the website to download and share.

People and organisations are encouraged to share relevant reports, standards, or studies, run a CPD event, give a talk, or organise a workshop or activity for a school or community group to help promote healthy and sustainable ventilation.

“To make buildings more resilient we need both short-term solutions and long-term strategies,” said BESA’s head of technical Graeme Fox. “For example, local air cleaners based on HEPA filtration or UVC disinfection are important tools, but they are not an alternative to improving the general ventilation either through natural or mechanical means.

“Far too many buildings are simply under-ventilated, and by raising awareness we hope to encourage many more owners and operators to make this a much higher priority and so safeguard the health and well-being of millions of people around the world.”




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