air ventilation system in building

Loughborough part of international awareness campaign to champion building ventilation

An international awareness campaign to promote the critical role of better building ventilation in supporting health, well-being, and productivity has been launched by a coalition of scientists, academics, engineering bodies and environmental activists.

The first annual World Ventil8 Day (#WorldVentil8Day) takes place today (November 8) and involves a series of ‘in person’ and online events and discussions around the world. 

The campaign is being led by Professor Cath Noakes OBE at the University of Leeds, along with UK bodies BESA (the Building Engineering Services Association), CIBSE (the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers), IMechE (Institution of Mechanical Engineers) and FETA (the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations).

They are working in partnership with international partners AREA (the umbrella body for European contractors’ organisations), ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers) and UNEP (the United Nations Environment Programme). UK academics from the universities of Loughborough, Nottingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Strathclyde, and Imperial College London, many of whom are part of the Future Urban Ventilation Network, are backing the initiative.

Loughborough University, led by Professor Malcolm Cook, has a long history in ventilation and indoor air quality research. It is currently running the government funded AIRBODS (Airborne Infection Reduction through Building Operation and Design for SARS-CoV-2) project. The study helped get large-scale events back up and running following the Covid-19 pandemic and is due to release guidance on how to design and operate non-domestic buildings to minimise the risk of airborne transmission of Covid-19, and other viruses.

“Good ventilation is key to providing a safe, healthy indoor environment” says Professor Cook. “It helps to ensure good quality sleep, contributes to a productive environment for learning and working as well as removing harmful pollutants.”

The overarching ambition for the World Ventil8 Day is ‘Improving Ventilation for a Healthier World’ and this year the theme aims to celebrate ventilation through a series of events and knowledge sharing. The campaign will showcase powerful scientific and practical evidence demonstrating how good ventilation can reduce exposure to air pollutants and infectious diseases, which aids human productivity, improves sleep, and reduces mould and damp in buildings.

“Good ventilation is part of creating a sustainable and low carbon environment, by using technology well to balance air quality, energy use and comfort,” said Professor Noakes. “It is critical to making buildings more resilient to health threats including our regular battles with the transmission of colds and flu around crowded indoor spaces.” 

As well as showcasing the range of ventilation solutions available to building owners and occupiers, World Ventilation Day will recognise the skilled people who implement the measures and strategies used to make buildings healthier and safer – highlighting the need for training and recruiting more skilled people to take on this growing global task. 

Its website - - includes a range of free resources including ‘top facts’ about the role of ventilation, and different methods that can be adapted depending on the age, design, location, and purpose of the building.  It also explains how building operators can manage the complex trade-off between ventilation, energy consumption, climate change, urban pollution, noise, comfort, and security.  

Organisers are encouraging people to get involved by following their social media (Twitter @WorldVentil8Day, Instagram @WorldVentil8Day and LinkedIn /WorldVentil8Day) and using the hashtags #WorldVentil8Day & #CelebrateVentil8 in their own posts. Resources will be available on the website to download and share.  

People and organisations are encouraged to share relevant reports, standards, or studies, run a CPD event, give a talk or organise a workshop or activity for a school or community group to help promote healthy and sustainable ventilation. 

“To make buildings more resilient we need both short-term solutions and long-term strategies,” said BESA’s head of technical Graeme Fox. “For example, local air cleaners based on HEPA filtration or UVC disinfection are important tools, but they are not an alternative to improving the general ventilation either through natural or mechanical means.  

“Far too many buildings are simply under-ventilated and by raising awareness we hope to encourage many more owners and operators to make this a much higher priority and so safeguard the health and well-being of millions of people around the world.” 

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 22/201

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2022 QS World University Rankings – the sixth year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2023 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.