Patrick Chambers, Affil.AIRAH

The historical burden of shared air and the future of indoor air quality

Growing human population and mass urbanisation has culminated in a situation where we are sharing air between individuals on an unprecedented scale. This is of epidemiological concern.

A fundamental control for mitigating poor air quality in buildings is ventilation systems. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought renewed focus on the topic of indoor air quality (IAQ), prompting us to challenge conventional approaches to ventilating buildings.

There are numerous health-related issues that stem from poor IAQ. What we understand of these issues is based on epidemiology. As we progress into the digital age, the sophistication of data collection and analytics will increase and significantly enhance epidemiological rigour. This will drive further understanding of causation surrounding health and IAQ, and the industry needs to be poised to respond to this.

This presentation will provide insights into what the future of the HVAC industry may look like as we get a better understanding of the ramifications of poor IAQ. It will address questions such as:
  • What can we learn from the anatomy of breathing to better understand the importance of indoor air chemistry?
  • Will biotechnology play a role in the future as a mechanism for enhancing IAQ?
  • What is the role of artificial intelligence and smart buildings in IAQ?
  • Can localised micro-filtration systems provide more benefit than traditional centralised systems at minimising infection transmission?
  • Where and how should we be considering sterilisation?
  • Can we engineer indoor air to pre-industrial pollution levels?
The presentation will reflect on historically relevant events such as the water quality public health revolution and the evolution of germ theory into common medicinal practice to respond to recent calls within literature proposing that we could be on the cusp of an “air quality public health revolution”. 
About Patrick Chambers:
Patrick Chambers brings technical expertise from a diverse range of projects, sectors and geographies, with specialisation in hospitals and healthcare, indoor air quality and airborne infection control.

As the Mechanical Discipline Leader for Stantec Australia, Patrick champions standardisation and optimisation of design process workflows, collaboration, thought leadership and innovation across the discipline.

A background in scientific research allows Patrick to bring renewed perspective to building engineering design. He is actively involved in academic research programs with universities in Queensland. 

Patrick is a member of the AIRAH STG for Infection Control in Operating Theatres, and industry advisor for government-funded research project Making Australia Resilient to Airborne Infection Transmission.