Design of Healthy Interior Environments

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

KDA 320 Healthy Interior Environments


  1. Introduction.
  2. Identity the existing planes, materials and objects.
  3. Strategy.
  4. Solution.
  5. Reference List.

Part 1: Introduction

What is IAQ about? IAQ stands for Indoor Air Quality, which is a term to describe the peculiarity of an indoor space and concern of the major health, safety and welfare about the design of the space.

Why Indoor Air Quality is important?

Most of our life, we spend the most time inside a building. According to GREENGUARD “Indoor Air is 2 to 5 Times More Polluted Than Outdoor Air” []

As when we are inside a building, we are exposing to environmental pollutants when breathing indoor air. [1]

What affect Indoor Air Quality?

There is some main aspect that cause a poor indoor air quality such as: - Chemicals - Mold - Particulates - Poor Ventilation

Inside the process of designing a space, we need to caution with the process of manufacturing and construction. Where in this case the material may contain and release some amounts volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). VOC’s can be harmful when the chemicals exposed to human being. [2]

VOC’s usually found in products such as Furniture, Paint, Drywall, Bedding, Paint strippers, Adhesives/glues, Solvents, Upholstery and other textiles, Carpet, Cleaning products, Copy machine toners, Office supplies, Electronic equipment, Dry-cleaned clothing, Building materials. [3]

Formaldehyde, Decane, Butoxyethanol, Isopentane, Limonene, Styrene, Xylenes, Perchloroethylene, Methylene, Chloride, Toluene, Vinyl chloride is some of the common VOCs in homes, offices and schools. [3]

What is GREENGUARD Certified Program?

“GREENGUARD Certification is recognized and referenced in numerous building programs, standards and specifications around the world. Products with GREENGUARD Certification or GREENGUARD GoldCertification can contribute to the achievement of points in established green building rating systems, satisfy code or ordinance criteria and meet indoor air quality specific RFP requirements.” [4]


  2. Gesimondo & Postell, 2011, Materiality and Interior Construction, Wiley P6-8

Part 2a: Public Space – Neil Pitt building Hotel Lobby

C:\Users\user\Desktop\HIE AT2\hotel lobby.jpg

The hotel lobby takes place at existing Neil Pitt building located on Brisbane Street.

Length (m)

Height (m)

Surface Area (m2)

Total Wall and Column




New Built Wall




Display Wall, Partition







Window, Glass Door








Surface Area of Wall (High Impact IAQ)

Floor and Ceiling Area (High Impact on IAQ)

Floor Area = 16.05m x 18.2m = 292.11m2

Ceiling Area = Floor Area – Void Area

= 292.11m2 – (4.28m x 12.196m)

= 239.85m2

Volume of the Space (High Impact on IAQ)

= 18.2m (L) x 16.05m (W) x 4.2m (H)

= 1226.86m3

From above calculation, the surface area of wall has the largest proportion of surface in the area. After minus out the partition and window part, the wall has an area of 333.27m2. Therefore, selection of material for this will be most important as it affect the most IAQ of that area.

Floor area that consists of 292.11m2 will be the second largest surface within the area. And ceiling will be the last, consists of 239.85m2

The total volume of this hotel lobby is around 1226.86m3. For a public space like hotel lobby that is in huge volume, there will be more affection in ventilation and humidity of the space.






Wood, Laminate






Wood, Glass



Steel, Glass, Plastic



Wood, Leather



Steel, Leather

Air Conditioning


Steel, Plastic




(Low Impact on IAQ)

(Medium Impact on IAQ)

Objects and Material in the Space

Age of Material (Medium Impact on IAQ)

For Neil Pitt building, most material of the building is old and some might need to have retreatment or refurbishment on the existing material. There will be some impact to look on such as the timber preservation (may use of toxic product), existing brick and block (may occur natural radioactivity), metal (where some repainting need to be done) and some old adhesives or sealants might contain some solvents. [5]



Part 2b: Private Space – Holyman House Double Bedroom

C:\Users\user\Desktop\HIE AT2\room.jpg

The double bedroom located at Holyman House in Brisbane Street. This hotel room just a small bedroom with a double bed plus a cabinet filled with cloth hanging, TV cabinet and also workspaces.

Length (m)

Height (m)

Surface Area (m2)









Total Wall - Window




Surface Area of Wall (High Impact IAQ)

Floor and Ceiling Area (High Impact on IAQ)

= 4.44m x 3.083m – 1.471m x 0.996m

= 13.69m2 – 1.47m2

= 12.27m2 (both floor and ceiling)

Volume of the Space (High Impact on IAQ)

= [2.969m x 3.083m + 2.087m x 1.471m] x 4.2m

= 45.96m3

For this bedroom, the wall also occupied the most surface area with the total wall size of 53.24m2. The Floor and ceiling occupied the second with 12.27m2 each.

As for the room volume, this room has a small volume of 45.96m3. Compare with the public space Hotel Lobby, this smaller space IAQ will better as got direct access to the window which provide natural ventilation.

Objects and Material in the Space






Wood, Fabric






Steel, Glass



Steel, Leather



Steel, Glass, Plastic




(Low Impact on IAQ)

(Medium Impact on IAQ)

Age of Material (Medium Impact on IAQ)

Similar with Neil Pitt building, Holyman house most material is old and some might need to have retreatment or refurbishment on the existing material.

Part 2c: Additional Factor

  1. Ventilation

Ventilation is a process where air changing through an opening in the space. Hausladen & Tichelmann mention in their book that: “Natural ventilation is a means of achieving a direct exchange between internal and external air through windows or dedicated ventilation louvers or flaps.” [6]

For the Hotel Lobby area, the natural ventilation is not as good as the space is lack of opening such as window. It only has a main door entrance. Therefore for the lobby area, mechanical ventilation will be needed.

Holyman house bedroom ventilation is better where they have own window and the size of the window is suitable for the volume of the room. Figure 1[7]

  1. Humidity

Humidity is the quantity of water vapor in the atmosphere. In cold places example when winter, the humidity is low and for Tasmania, the temperature is cold, therefore humidity is easier to control. To prevent grew of mold, humidity must not over the percentage of 70%. There are several ways that can control humidity inside a room such as ventilation, temperature control and also dehumidification. [8]

  1. External Air

There is some common aspect between external air and natural ventilation. As being mention above, Hotel lobby area is harder to get external air due to the location and lack of opening that expose the space to outside air.


  1. Hausladen & Tichelmann, 2010, Interiors Construction Manual: Integrated planning , Finishes and Fittingout, Techncal Services, DETAIL, Birkhauser P174-175
  2. Hausladen & Tichelmann, 2010, Interiors Construction Manual: Integrated planning , Finishes and Fittingout, Techncal Services, DETAIL, Birkhauser P174-175
  3. Godish, Thad, c1989, Indoor air pollution control. Chelsea, Mich. : Lewis Publishers P167-168

Part 3: Indoor Air Quality Strategy

As the project is take part at old building, starting by studying the factor of the existing building. From the building, the main core material will be brick work and concrete.

Brick work effects on Indoor Air Quality

  • They may occur some natural radioactivity.
  • But this radioactivity only to be found low in range of product.


  • Concrete also may contain natural radioactivity


  • Preservation of timber might contain of toxic product.

As this three main material will be found in the existing building which still need to be maintain and can’t be replace, I will go to the next step of targeting the maintenance program and removal aspect. The reason of this strategy is because a maintenance of hotel is not easy when clean up, furthermore this dispersed hotel is located separately. For the removal aspect is consider about after few years, the hotel might go through for new renovation, repackaging the hotel. Using this, the material will be analysis to match the strategy that going to be use.

The three primary surface materials will be floor, wall and ceiling.

Material Selection - Floor

Ceramic floor tiles: Portland cement- based will not emit any VOCs and/or the growth of harmful allergens.

Carpet: will be host for dust mites and mold spores. VOCs found to be emit from the solvents, latex backing or the adhesives use in the product installation.

Cork: may contain vinyl and formaldehyde

Linoleum: natural material, but some systems contain off-gassing. Some individual may sensitivity with the linseed oil.

Rubber flooring: antimicrobial, but minimal off-gassing chances.

Vinyl flooring: material that is component sources of VOCs.

Wood flooring: maintainance such as varnishes, stains will give off large amounts of VOCs. [9]

Stone flooring: hard resistance, wide range of finishes. Example of stone: Granite, Marble, Travertine. [10]


  1. Gesimondo & Postell, 2011, Materiality and Interior Construction, Wiley P54-55
  2. Gesimondo & Postell, 2011, Materiality and Interior Construction, Wiley P149-151

Material Selection - Ceiling

Acoustic Ceiling tiles: have moisture control, or moisture balance. Some low density mineral fiber ceiling can absorb moisture and humidity. Mostly Low or no VOCs. Recyclable, renewable materials. Easy maintenance.

Ceramic tile: fireproof, similar with floor ceramic tiles, doesn’t commit VOCs. Low maintenance, odorless.

Concrete Ceiling: not consider as green material, can be recycle. Maintenance may require sealant that might contain VOCs. Pressure might cause crack.

Gypsum Board: durable and can form different shape. Susceptible to water and moisture damage and cause growth of mold.

Metal Ceiling: Durable.

Plaster Ceiling: not entirely environmental sustainable. However they will not emit VOCs. Absorbs moisture. May crack after sometime. Excessive moisture can damage it. [11]


  1. Gesimondo & Postell, 2011, Materiality and Interior Construction, Wiley P294-320

Material Selection - Wall

Bead Board: meets the criteria of GREENGUARD about the chemical emissions. Contain PVC that is source of VOCs. Durable and easy to maintain.

Brick Masonry: low maintenance and durable. Good for reuse and recycle. Some brick might be porous such as painting brick.

Cement fiberboard: strong and resistant to fire, insect and decay. But receive stain and will chip. No maintenance required, wet cloth wipe for cleaning.

Ceramic tiles: similar to floor and ceiling ceramic tile. Easy to maintain and durable.

Concrete: similar with concrete ceiling.

Glass/ Glazing: transparent, translucent or with opaque material. High fire resistant. Installation have sequence for panel parts.

Gypsum wallboard: similar to gypsum ceiling.[12]


  1. Gesimondo & Postell, 2011, Materiality and Interior Construction, Wiley P203-283

Part 4: Solution to create a better Indoor Air Quality

  1. Flooring for Hotel Lobby

For the Hotel Lobby, after gone through some list of material, stone type flooring which this suite my strategy requirement of easy maintenance and removal aspect. flooring is easy to maintain and did not contain of VOCs in the installation or removal.

There is a disadvantage where stone flooring pricing is quite high compare to other flooring. The material is unique because its nature forms of texture.

Travertine Stone Floor [13]

  1. Flooring for Hotel Rooms the rooms, carpet will be use although it is harder to clean. The carpet provider that to choose will be their material is free emission of VOCs and eco-friendly underlay. This is because of carpet maintenance is lower compare to wood flooring, only cleaning part will be harder. Carpet also can make the room feel warmer compare to the stone flooring that being choose to use at hotel lobby.

Nylon Carpets [14]


  1. Ceiling for both Hotel Lobby and Rooms

Acoustic Ceiling tiles have been choose to be the ceiling material because of the non VOCs. It is also easy to maintain and clean. Other than that, acoustic ceiling provide some acoustic requirement for the space which is an extra benefit other than the indoor air quality.

Acoustic Ceiling [15]

  1. Wall for both Hotel Lobby and Rooms

Brick masonry wall will be used as for the durable and easy maintenance strategy. The covering of the wall will be plastered and painted with GREENGUARD certified paint.

There will also some glass wall at the hotel lobby to provide natural sunlight into the space.



Part 5: Reference List


  1. Hausladen & Tichelmann, 2010, Interiors Construction Manual: Integrated planning , Finishes and Fittingout,Techncal Services, DETAIL, Birkhauser
  2. Gesimondo & Postell, 2011, Materiality and Interior Construction, Wiley
  3. Godish, Thad, c1989, Indoor air pollution control. Chelsea, Mich. : Lewis Publishers
  4. Bearg, David W., c1993, Indoor air quality and HVAC systems. Boca Raton, Fla. : Lewis Publishers
  5. Conran, T., 2009, Eco House Book, Conran Octopus
  6. Susan, M., 2012, Sustainable Design for Interior Environments, Bloomsbury Acad & Prof