Indoor air and occupant health – An engineering perspective presented at Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, India

Posted: 3 April, 2024

The biggest environmental challenges to public health (i.e. population migration and displacement, chemical/environmental pollution, respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer) are evolving with the changing climate, destruction of ecosystems, and extreme weather events. These challenges place unprecedented demands on buildings’ indoor climate conditioning systems to preserve indoor air quality and thermal comfort for the occupants. The World Health Organisation reported that exposure to indoor smoke from cooking fuels attributable to at least 3.2 million deaths a year worldwide.  There is an opportunity now to examine how healthy the indoor climates of our buildings are and to ensure we are prepared for future challenges. Ideally, a building indoor climate conditioning system can be engineered to be flexible enough to deal with extended demands and lean enough to provide a healthy indoor space during everyday operation in an energy efficient manner. The future of indoor air management system design requires a focus on indoor air sanitation and treating the built environment as an instrument of building health.

In September 2023, the Department of Mechanical Engineering in Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), Vellore, India organized a guest lecture as part of their series of regular guest lectures by experts from different domains. Dr Asit Kumar Mishra, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) DOROTHY fellow, was invited to give a presentation on “Indoor air and occupant health – An engineering perspective”. The talk was followed by 30 minutes of Q&A and  a total of 65 delegates attended (59 locally at VIT and 6 online). These included undergraduate and graduate students from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and faculty members.

Asit explains how disseminating his project objectives in his home country was beneficial for his research:

In November 2023, Asit participated in the MSCA Awards: Science-Policy Pitch Competition, as one of the 15 finalists, pitching his work on resilient indoor climate design for school classrooms. Asit will also be presenting at the Indoor Air 2024 Conference: Sustaining the Indoor Air Revolution regarding how a holistic evaluation of the carbon footprint of indoor conditioning systems needs to take into consideration the interconnectedness between buildings and public health.

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