The Air we Breathe – Jun 2017

Wow Canada! We’re almost there, 150 Years strong!

There’s been several achievements over those 150 years and one of them that I conversed recently is Air Quality in Canada and Canadian cities. Canadian cities have significantly better Air Quality than International cities of similar size and economic power. For example, Vancouver scored 25.5 on the Air Quality Index Scale placing 13th while Toronto scored 41.5, placing 17th out of the 53 North America cities included. The index is explained as follows:

The Air Quality Index (AQI) Scale

Compared to Metropolises like L.A. (62.9), Miami (40) and New York (59.3), this is satisfactory with room for improvement.

Clean outdoor air quality makes for improved indoor air quality and that brings me to the question: When you walk into a building what makes it feel like a comfortable healthy building?

Air quality

Whether a space gets enough air (measured in cubic feet per minute – CFM) is crucial to the internal climate for occupants and how the building performs. Another crucial factor is the type of filtration the building has which is measured on the MERV scale. The MERV filter rating determines how much filtration make-up air is subject to and what types of airborne particles pass through.

MERV Rating Scale


The second important climate in indoor climate is Lighting. Whether it is natural lighting from large bay windows, warmth, hue and color go a long way in determining how comfortable occupants are. Too dim and occupants won’t see well, too bright and you hurt people’s eyes. Dim lighting usually creates a relaxed mood so one needs to be strategic in creating an internal atmosphere. The layout of open space within the building within the building is the third factor in ensuring building comfort. Less is more!


Natural Lighting in two different applications