A breath of fresh air

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Last modified on 16/01/2018

Ever walked into a shopping destination and thought “I need air!” or “I feel uncomfortable” because of a lack of ventilation? 

Has this stopped you staying longer, buying more or enjoying yourself? If the answer is yes, you should spare a thought for the employees who have no choice but to work there. Admittedly, these may be extreme cases, but these environments do exist.

So the question is, what is good air? Comfortable temperatures, good air movement, low humidity and low levels of carbon monoxide, particulates, airborne bacteria and manmade volatile organic compounds. That’s a bit of a mouthful, but if the mix is right, your health will thank you.

Ironically, a new challenge presents itself today.

Have we gone too far in saving energy through restricting heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in our destinations? When designing ventilation for retail, are we taking into account how the store operates and what it sells? Are we sampling good air quality enough or at all?

There’s no denying air quality outside is a major issue with the effects of diesel and nitrogen dioxide, but are we ignoring indoor air quality, which could be a far bigger issue than we currently think. 

Will good air make your customers feel better, shop more and stay longer? Will staff feel more energised and happier? Will it genuinely be healthier for us? Does good quality air sell more? It surely has to be yes… or does it?

During 2017 the Revo Low Carbon Working Group will be working to answer some of these challenges...

...this will include work on air quality in stores and measurement of C02 levels from real data from retail places acquired through landlord and tenant cooperation. This work will cover how air quality might affect customer and employee behaviour in stores, guiding the Revo membership through this vital debate. 


Stuart M Laidlaw BSc CEng FCIBSE
Chair of the Revo Low Carbon Working Group