Fighting air pollution in the workplace

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Furniture, filters and footfall – a guide to just some of the methods for improving the air quality where you live and where you work.

The impact of air pollution is now becoming more widely understood and we know how damaging poor air quality can be to our health. A new report from scientists in Mainz, Germany, has shown the health impacts for air pollution are greater than many other risk factors, even those such as smoking and infectious diseases.

Finding solutions to reduce emissions at the source, limit our exposure to air pollution and improve air quality is becoming ever-more important for the environment and for our health. Several new innovations are helping to improve the level of air pollution in our cities and workplaces around Europe.

Air purifying curtains

IKEA has a range of air purifying curtains that they say could help clean up indoor air pollution in offices, public buildings and other businesses. The GUNRID curtains have been developed with universities in Europe and Asia and are made from a textile that breaks down common indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde (which are classed as volatile organic compounds, primarily coming from vehicle exhausts) and even odours. This is done through a mineral-based coating that is activated by natural light. What's more, the curtains are each made from 50 recycled plastic bottles.

Filtering the air in transport hotspots

In late 2018 a dual filter air cleaning system was installed inside Marylebone Station's advertising stands in an attempt to provide fresher air for the workers in this busy London railway station which sees more than 17 million passengers travelling through it each year. The pilot project was so successful that it has been extended until November 2020. During the year-long pilot phase, the air filters recycled 41.4 million cubic metres of clean air - enough to fill Wembley Stadium 36 times.

Pollution trapping pavements

Spanish carmaker SEAT installed innovative new pavement slabs at its Martorell plant in Barcelona that can trap air pollution. The paving slabs are photocatalytic, which means they are coated with a material that activates when they are exposed to sunlight, oxygen and pollutant nitrogen oxides at the same time. The catalyst causes a reaction in the surrounding air that traps the toxins. SEAT estimated that air pollution fell by approximately 40% in the first phase of the installation.

E.ON's clean air initiatives

We're working hard to try and help tackle climate change and provide clean air in the UK too. Initiatives we've launched recently include providing 100% renewables-backed electricity for SME business customers and electric vehicle charging points at workplaces to help tackle emissions and pollutants from petrol and diesel vehicles.

Our work with cities and local authorities in the UK and around Europe also shows what can be done at scale to help tackle climate change and make our lives more sustainable.

Our whitepaper outlines how we can work together across homes, businesses and entire communities to make changes that will reduce air pollutants and help provide clean air. These initiatives are not only good for the environment, they can help your business be more energy efficient too, so you can help clear the air while saving money on your energy bills.