«A day that was rich in learning for me»
Reto Coutalides, Ionair extended an invitation to you for the «tour de reference» in NEST to Dübendorf at which you agreed to appear as a guest speaker. What motivated you to do this?
I am interested in innovative approaches both in civil engineering as well as wherever there is an opportunity for improving indoor climates. I got to see both here. On the one hand this was via the NEST, and on the other hand through the application of the method developed by Ionair for improving indoor air quality.
You advocate good indoor air quality. When, according to you, is the indoor air quality good?
Good indoor air quality prevails if the indoor air has a low level of pollutants. One must ensure that emissions formed in rooms are as low as possible, whether they are caused by materials or human activities, and that these rooms are also supplied with adequate fresh air.
When it comes to indoor air quality, one deals, among other things, with indoor pollutants. How far does the ionization process help in terms of reducing pollutants in indoor air?
As the measurements presented demonstrate, one can apparently reduce harmful substances and a majority of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in indoor air. This is also associated with an improvement regarding undesirable odors.
Ozone is stigmatized time and again by the ionization process, even though ozone is a naturally occurring constituent of the air - what do you have to say about this?
As several studies conducted worldwide have demonstrated, the concentration of ozone indoors is diminishing constantly compared to the concentration of ozone outdoors. Therefore, we have the problem that we are enriching the indoor air with ozone, and this often takes place to a large extent, which is considerably greater than the ozone contribution from the ionization process. This is associated with the fact that ozone indoors settles down very quickly. In addition, during the ionization process, the concentration of ozone is controlled dynamically depending on the concentration of pollutants.
What are your takeaways from the day?
I found the tour to NEST to be a very interesting one. Above all, the preparation of closed circuits with the self-produced fertilizers. I find the endeavors of Ionair in practical tests, the efforts of undertaking advanced development in the application of ionization and perfecting it, as is taking place in NEST, to be excellent. To put it in a nutshell, it was a day that was rich in learning for me.
About the person
Reto Coutalides, a graduate Chemical Engineer from the University of Applied Sciences, with postgraduate studies on the Environment at the University of Zurich, is also a vocational school teacher graduate. He has 25 years of experience in the fields of healthy and sustainable construction, with harmful substances indoors, ecological product assessments, as well as various environment-related matters. Reto Coutalides is the author of technical articles and guidebooks on healthy and sustainable construction, as well as a variety of consumer topics, inter alia, the first fish guidebook of Switzerland jointly with Simonetta Sommaruga. He is the publisher and author of the book «Indoor climate - Ways to healthy constructions» (www.werdverlag.ch). Today, above all, he is busy delivering lectures both at home and abroad and he has been appointed to teach at the University of Applied Sciences, Lucerne, Department of Technology & Architecture.
He is a member both of the Commission for indoor air hygiene in the German Federal Environmental Agency, Berlin (www.umweltbundesamt.de) as well as the Swiss company for occupational hygiene SGAH (www.sgah.ch).