What is IEQ? How does it contribute to well-being?

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Imagine this: you step into a room, take a deep breath, and instantly feel a sense of calm and revitalized energy. This is thanks to IEQ – indoor environmental quality.

Did you know that the quality of our indoor environment — from the air we breathe to the lighting that surrounds us — has a profound impact on our health, well-being, and happiness? Research shows that in office environments, optimizing IEQ can increase productivity by up to 20% and even reduce employee turnover rate and absenteeism.

But what is IEQ? Is it the same as the more familiar IAQ? Not quite. While IEQ includes air quality, there’s much more to it.

IEQ vs. IAQ: Understanding the Difference

While indoor air quality (IAQ) focuses primarily on the quality of the air we breathe indoors, IEQ includes a broader spectrum of factors. IEQ encompasses indoor air as well as aspects such as lighting, acoustics, temperature, and humidity — it provides a holistic perspective on creating a healthy, comfortable indoor environment.

Several factors contribute to comfort in indoor environments. Good indoor air quality provided by fresh air appliances helps protect against respiratory issues and other health concerns.

Optimal temperature and humidity levels provided by heating and cooling systems help to ensure a pleasant atmosphere and reduce stuffiness, making it easier to breathe and not requiring layering for comfort. Adequate lighting improves visibility and mood without shining so brightly that it’s hard on the eyes. Reduced noise helps calm the brain and eliminate unnecessary distractions.

By optimizing these and other factors, we can create an environment with improved IEQ.

IEQ in Homes: Creating a Healthy Living Environment

A healthy home environment is an oasis where we decompress from a long day, enjoy time with loved ones, and just enjoy life. Without optimal IEQ in our homes, our well-being begins to suffer. There are a few things we can look at that significantly contribute to the home’s environment.


As with improving IAQ, sufficient mechanical ventilation helps to circulate fresh air through the rooms of the home, reducing the concentration of indoor pollutants and keeping a healthy atmosphere. By allowing a continuous flow of outdoor air, ventilation systems effectively remove allergens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other airborne contaminants, promoting cleaner and healthier indoor air. This will also require regular maintenance and cleaning of ventilation systems, filters, and ducts to keep them operating properly and efficiently.

Acoustic design

Noise disturbances can negatively affect our overall well-being, causing stress and disrupting sleep patterns. Adding noise reduction elements, such as sound-absorbing materials and insulated windows, or implementing other soundproofing measures, can help minimize noise and create a quieter and more peaceful home. Arranging furniture and adding carpets, curtains, solid-core doors, or room dividers can help keep noise from traveling from room to room. This can be particularly helpful for homes with dedicated remote-work spaces. And opting to place the mechanical room away from living areas, such as in the basement or attic, can cut down on repetitive, loud noise.

Natural lighting

Exposure to natural light has been linked to improved mood, increased productivity, and better sleep patterns. By maximizing the use of windows, skylights, and light tubes, homeowners can harness the benefits of natural lighting, reducing the reliance on artificial lighting and creating a more visually appealing and comfortable living environment.

Adding greenery

Biophilia, our instinct to connect with nature, is gaining a lot of fans in the building industry as a way to further enhance occupant well-being and mental health. Including natural elements like plants can create this connection while aiding in air purification and improving overall air quality.

IEQ in the Workplace: Enhancing Employee Well-being and Productivity

Creating healthy IEQ in the workplace is vital for the happiness and productivity of employees. Studies have shown that a well-designed office environment with IEQ best practices can boost employee satisfaction and enhance performance.

Builders and employers can optimize IEQ through:

Good air circulation

Supplying good air circulation is one of the key factors in improving IEQ. Proper ventilation systems provide a constant supply of fresh air and help remove indoor pollutants and contaminants. Air circulation prevents the buildup of allergens, odors, and VOCs, creating a healthier and more comfortable workspace. Healthier employees also can help reduce absenteeism.

Adequate lighting

It’s not always possible to have natural light in an office building or industrial workplace. Well-designed lighting systems that mimic natural light can positively affect employee well-being and performance, including helping to regulate the body's circadian rhythm, enhancing alertness, reducing eye strain, and improving mood and productivity.

Comfortable temperatures through heating and cooling

Employees are more likely to be productive and focused when they are neither too hot nor too cold. Setting the temperature to a comfortable range and supplying individual temperature control options, where possible, can contribute to a pleasant working environment.

Noise control measures

Much like in homes, using noise reduction in a building’s meeting rooms or collaborative spaces, as well as establishing quiet zones or dedicated phone call rooms, can minimize noise disturbances and create a more peaceful and conducive work environment.

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The Impact of Noise on Productivity

Noise is an often-underestimated factor that significantly affects our well-being and productivity. Excessive noise in workspaces can impede concentration, increase stress levels, and reduce overall productivity. These noises can come from outside traffic, office and HVAC equipment, and loud conversations.

Putting noise control measures in place — like soundproofing and white noise machines — becomes crucial in supporting a healthy office environment.

Remember, healthy IEQ not only positively impacts physical health but also enhances mental well-being and productivity. Start by ensuring proper ventilation, maximizing natural lighting, optimizing temperature settings, and implementing noise reduction techniques.

Small changes can make a big difference in creating a healthier and more comfortable environment.

Take the first step today and contact your Fantech representative about fresh air appliances that can improve indoor environments.