Air quality is one of today’s most pressing issues. In fact, by 2022, no fewer than 9 million deaths worldwide will be attributable to poor air quality. In France, some 50,000 people die every year from indoor air pollution. In the light of these figures, the French government has revised its action plan to regulate indoor air quality in establishments open to the public (ERP).

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Published on 13 November 2023

Indoor Air Quality: new rules for childcare facilities

In this article:

What does this new regulation on Indoor Air Quality tell us?

As of January1, 2023, the regulations have been revised. Sensitive establishments open to the public are now subject to new regulations. This system enables infrastructures to better assess and measure indoor air quality. The new rules are based on four fundamental points:

  1. Annual assessment of ventilation systems, including direct-reading measurement of carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in enclosed spaces;
  2. IAQ self-diagnosis at least every four years
  3. A pollutant measurement campaign carried out at each key stage in the life of the building (by an accredited body).
  4. An action plan that takes into account the annual assessment of ventilation systems, the measurement campaign and the self-diagnosis.

These rules are designed to improve energy efficiency and reduce indoor air pollution.
Compliance with this new regulation is mandatory. If it’s not followed carefully, the penalties can be substantial. Failure to comply can result in a €1,500 fine, rising to €3,000 in the event of a repeat offence.

 

To whom do the new regulations apply?

The establishments concerned include those that cater for a young public, such as :

  • Group facilities for children under 6 (crèches, day-care centers, etc.)
  • Buildings used for primary and secondary education or vocational training (nursery and elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, etc.).
  • Dining rooms, dormitories and sports facilities

Some areas are still exempt from IAQ monitoring, such as offices, housing, kitchens, open spaces, technical rooms, etc.

Establishments therefore have until December 31, 2024 to carry out their first annual assessment of ventilation systems. As of January1, 2025, social, medico-social and long-term care facilities attached to healthcare establishments will be subject to this law.

 

In practical terms, what do you need to do to comply with standards?

1. Evaluate ventilation systems annually, including CO2 measurement:

  • Check the accessibility and manoeuvrability of openings
  • Visually inspect ventilation devices and means of aeration
  • Measure CO2 with a direct-reading sensor

2. Every 4 years, self-diagnose the structure:

  • Identify and reduce sources of pollution emissions
  • Maintain ventilation systems
  • Reduce occupants’ exposure to various pollutants

3. Create measurement campaigns for regulated pollutants at key stages in the life of the building:

  • Analyze samples of regulated pollutants such as formaldehyde (HCHO) and/or benzene and/or CO2.

Sampling and analysis must be carried out by a COFRAC-accredited operator, or by another member of the European Cooperation for Accreditation. The latter must have signed multilateral mutual recognition agreements.

These milestones are divided into three categories:

Source : Socotec.fr

The operator will post a permanent record of IAQ monitoring results near the main entrance.

4. Draw up an action plan detailing the corrective measures required to remedy the situation, indicating the following points:

  • Assessment of ventilation systems, self-diagnosis and results of pollutant measurement campaigns;
  • Updating of these actions at community level, on an annual basis (public orders, etc.) and at facility level (strategies for ventilation and storage of emissive materials, etc.).
  • Joint application of the action plan to several ERPs. For each action undertaken, at least the following information must be provided:
    • Share title
    • The description of the latter
    • The project manager and associated persons
    • Planned timetable

 

Why use a direct-reading CO2 sensor?

The direct-reading sensor is a pollutant measurement device designed for indoor environments. It operates on the principle of non-dispersive infrared absorption spectrometry or a technology demonstrating equivalent performance.

For a sensor to qualify as “direct reading”, it is imperative that CO2 levels are visible quickly, without any action. This can be a display that shows the ppm number, or more simply a three-colored indicator light that shows the CO2 level in the indoor air. It makes IAQ analysis child’s play. Simple and effective, no technical skills are required to use it.

All Nexelec CO2 sensors are direct-reading devices that comply fully with the requirements of the new regulations.

Direct reading of CO2 level via indicator light simplifies operation. When the threshold exceeds 800 ppm, the warning light flashes orange and ventilation of the premises should be considered. When the indicator turns red, aeration is required: the threshold exceeds 1500 ppm. These thresholds are configurable, so that the product can be adapted to each situation, particularly in the event of a health crisis, when the CO2 thresholds tolerated by the authorities are lowered.

A direct-reading indicator light makes it easy to check the CO2 level in the room instantly and at any time, without having to know the recommended thresholds.

 

The government has therefore introduced new corrective measures to reduce poor air quality in buildings. With its CO2 sensors, Nexelec supports its customers in their day-to-day measurements and analyses. Certified and equipped with the latest technology, our products will help you comply with the new applicable regulations.