Problems due to heat, cold and draughts, bad air or stuffy air in dwellings and places of work have been, and continue to be, of frequent occurrence.
It is a common characteristic of these problems that they are often related to the indoor climate of buildings, they are relatively easy to determine, and it is often possible to remedy them even though this may be expensive. In comparison with work environment problems such as exposure to organic solvents, weld fumes and heavy lifting, the effects of the indoor climate may be considered to be of lesser importance. Nevertheless, increasing attention has been directed in the last 10-15 years to indoor climate conditions in dwellings and at places of work, particularly offices, schools and daycare centers.
The most important reason for this interest has been the emergence of a number of new problems, of which the most extensive is the sick building syndrome for which the indoor climate of the building is an important contributory factor. Owing to the energy crisis at the beginning of the 1970s, buildings were made more airtight and the rate of ventilation was reduced. Parallel with this, new building methods, building materials, fittings and furnishings have been used, and new technology has been introduced, particularly in the field of data processing. It would appear that these conditions have played an essential role in the occurrence of these new problems. There is increasing understanding of these problems and of the fact that there is a complex interaction between the building, the way it is used, and the persons who live or work in it.