Impact of IEQ and IAQ in green and conventional buildings

Hospitality industry speaks about how indoor air and environmental quality is a huge deciding factor between green hotels and conventional ones.

Indoor air quality in hotels, Indoor Environmental Quality in hotels, Going green in hotels, Green hotels, Conventional hotels, Clairco, Camfil India, Alila Fort Bishangarh Jaipur, Octave Hotels

What it means to be a ‘Green Hotel’? The definition of going green and sustainability development explains why it is so important for both individuals and businesses to make change for their lives and environment. With a sense of social responsibility, many hotels have begun to take a ‘green’ shape.

Sustainable hospitality requires hotels to reduce their consumption of resources like energy and water. The hotel industry is beginning to implement green design and construction practices, saving energy, water, and resources and thus helping to preserve the environment. One of the primary aims of green hotel buildings is to minimise negative impacts on their occupants by creating a healthy, comfortable and productive indoor environment.

Indoor air quality in green buildings vs. conventional

Indoor air quality can be a huge deciding factor between green hotels and conventional ones. In a hotel building, a major part of electricity consumption is HVAC, and the use of efficient air filters can make a big difference in energy consumption and saving manpower costs and efforts.

Research have shown that conventional hotels (non-green) are often associated with issues related to deterioration of the environment or wasting resources. Conventional hotels have said to caused enormous harm to the environment through excessive consumption of non-recyclable goods, water, and energy for heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning. The emissions of VOC from indoor finishes such as paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants, formaldehyde emission from furnished products impacts the indoor air quality to a great extent in a conventional hotel buildings. The factor of air pollution and unwanted odor due to usage of tobacco products and improper air filtration inside the building interiors is another grave issue found in conventional hotels. Pollutants getting accumulated in the mechanical ventilation systems such as ducts, FCU/BCU, VAV/CAV, AHU’s due to poor practices during construction can lead to frequent repairs and unsatisfactory air quality. All these factors affect the quality of indoor air which as a result affects the health of the occupants in the hotel buildings.

Green building/construction involves the construction of resource-efficient buildings with innovative technologies to reduce energy and water consumption and improve waste management. Green buildings emphasise on the use of paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants with reduced VOC. They apply restrictions on smoking inside the building premises so that air can be prevented from getting polluted and sets up a dedicated smoking area in order to prevent pollutants. The mechanical ventilation system in green hotels is designed in such a way so that it meets the fresh air requirements. The continuous supply of fresh air inside the building goes through by the HVAC systems.

Shashi Shekhar, Managing Director, Camfil India Private Limited says, “From the perspective of the entire lifecycle of the building, green design and construction practices can provide a green, luxurious environment and also enhance the hotels' financial strength.” A green building should reduce the impact on the health of its occupants and its environment throughout its life-cycle.

Influence of IEQ in hotel businesses

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) is highly important for hotels these days. Guests these days are smart health warriors who know the importance of IEQ and pay attention to this service in hotels. 

Apart from physical and environmental factors, Aayush Jha, co-founder and CEO, Clairco says that factors such as office layout, amount of space, privacy, office furniture and furnishings, cleaning and maintenance, access and ability to have personal control over indoor air quality also have a greater influence on IEQ. The quality indoor environment can result in increased visitor satisfaction, enhanced staff performance and productivity reduced liability. Binny Sebastian, General Manager, Alila Fort Bishangarh Jaipur says, “Green building like Alila Fort Bishangarh is away from industries and is surrounded by greenery all around with more provision of sunlight rather than artificial lighting.”

The question of guest satisfaction

Green buildings do pay attention to major aspects of surviving sustainably. But most of the brands which plan to go green often miss on some of the tiny aspects which the guests take a notice and sometimes are not happy about it, says Siddharth Goenka - Managing Director, Octave Hotels. Agreeing to the same Shekhar says that there is a potential for conflict between green building practices and hotel guests' satisfaction and comfort, as the conservation of resources could detract from the quality of a guest's visitor experience.” In such cases, occupants to a certain point need personal control on IEQ which is still not given to them in a lot of green buildings.

IEQ is also important to implement to ensure guest satisfaction that would make them want to return and recommend the hotel to others. Goenka contends, “Implementing IEQ has a great impact on the hotel’s brand image as it helps to pitch it as a property with the highest environmental quality.” Having a high indoor environment quality can make or break a hotel’s reputation, especially in Tier-I cities.

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