Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is a term generally used to describe the quality of the air in office environments. A number of factors can affect the indoor air quality of a building, including:

  • The physical layout of the building
  • The building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system
  • The outdoor climate
  • The people who occupy the building
  • Contaminants inside and outside the building

Contaminants may include dust, mould, carbon monoxide (i.e., from vehicles parked near air intakes), volatile organic compounds (e.g., given off by office printers and photocopiers, paint, glue, etc), and formaldehyde (e.g., from insulation and carpets).

IAQ Reporting Protocol

Normal Circumstances

This includes situations where there is an unusual smell, dusty environment, or what might appear to be mold staining.  Building occupants who experience these types of problems should inform their immediate supervisor and establish who will be making the report.  Report the concern by calling or emailing :

SFU Burnaby Facilities Services or Facilities Services Online Request Form
SFU Vancouver
Operations 2-5252
SFU Surrey Operations 2-7495

Provide as much detailed information as possible. If the concern is time sensitive treat it as an emergency, and in addition advise EHRS by phoning #25935.

How are IAQ concerns investigated at SFU?

A representative from Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) will follow-up with the concerned occupant(s).  An assessment strategy will be developed based on the occupant interview which may include a review of the ventilation in the room, an assessment of the four IAQ parameters (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, temperature and humidity), and an investigation to identify any signs of water ingress, mould growth or other contaminants. 

What action will be taken to improve IAQ in an office space at SFU?

Often, small adjustments to the ventilation system in a space will improve the air quality.  EHRS will work closely with Facilities Services to evaluate the ventilation in an area of concern.  If moisture and/or mould are detected, a more detailed investigation will be performed.  Please refer to the Mould FAQs below.

In Emergency Situation:

This includes situations where an air contaminant is highly suspected or known to be present ,and occupants are developing health symptoms such as nausea headaches, buning eyes and upper respiratory problems.  Building occupants should call the Emergency  at:

SFU Burnaby 2-4500
SFU Vancouver 2-5252
SFU Surrey 2-7511

Security will:

  • Contact the emergency response personnel if required.
  • Dispatch security personnel to the location of concern.
  • Notify Facilities Services or Operations of the reported concern.