Surrounding Environmental Risks
Every project is tied to a place. This presents certain risks to buildings and occupants. Firstplanit will help identify strategies and building materials to mitigate these risks to property and people.
This map illustrates exposure to very fine particles present in the air at this location. Because PM2.5 particles are so tiny, they can enter the lungs and, in the long term, affect respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
RiskShort term(up to 24-hours duration) exposures to harmful levels of PM2.5 are linked with:
- Increased hospital admissions for heart or lung causes.
- Acute and chronic bronchitis.
- Asthma attacks and respiratory symptoms.
- Restricted activity days and fatigue.
- Premature death, particularly in people who have chronic heart or lung diseases.
- Reduced lung function growth in children.
- PM2.5 particles can also substantially increase the long term medical care costs associated with negative health impacts on larger populations.
Combustion sources like vehicles usually emit PM 2.5 particles. The indoor environment also contains sources of PM2.5. These might include building materials, appliance exhaust, fuels, stoves, heating, smoking, and other domestic activities. Reducing the amount emitted by products indoors and limiting the entry of these tiny particles from the outdoor greatly benefit the health of occupants.
20μg or a higher dose of PM2.5 is considered harmful to human health. Besides quantity, the duration of exposure, i.e. for how long one is exposed to harmful levels, plays a role. The PM2.5 level map indicates a at this location.*Particulate matter 2.5 μm in diameter or smaller. The source or composition of the particle is not a distinguisher at this point, but emerging research may shed more light on this in the coming years.
This map illustrates exposure to inhalable coarse particles present in the air at this location. These are larger than PM2.5 but still small enough not to be noticed and cause severe long term respiratory illness.
RiskShort term(up to 24-hours duration) exposures to harmful levels of PM2.5 is linked with:
- Worsening of Asthma, leading to increased hospitalisation and emergency department visits.
- Worsening of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Long term exposures to PM10 (months to years) are less clear, although several studies suggest a link between long-term PM10 exposure and respiratory mortality. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a review in 2015 that concluded that particulate matter in outdoor air pollution causes lung cancer. PM10 particles can also substantially increase long term medical care costs associated with harm to respiratory systems in populations.
A large proportion of PM10 concentrations originate from human activity such as wood-burning and tyre brake wear from vehicles and wind-blown dust from construction sites, landfills and agriculture, and fragments of bacteria. The indoor environment also contains sources of PM10. These include building materials, fixtures and fittings, appliances, fuels, heating, smoking and other domestic activities
20μg or a higher dose of PM10 is considered harmful to human health. Besides quantity, the duration of exposure, i.e. for how long one is exposed to unhealthy levels, plays a role. The PM10 Level map indicates a at this location.*Particulate matter 10 μm in diameter or smaller. The source or composition of the particle is not a distinguisher at this point, but emerging research may shed more light on this in the coming years.
This map illustrates exposure to Nitrogen dioxide levels at this location. Nitrogen dioxide is a chemical compound with the formula NO2. NO2 contributes to chemical reactions that form the highly harmful ozone gas. NO2 deposits itself in the environment as gas and precipitation that can change air, soil, and water quality and impact biodiversity.
RiskShort term(up to 24-hours duration) exposures to harmful levels of NO2 is linked with:
- Aggravating respiratory diseases, particularly asthma, increasing coughing, wheezing or difficulty breathing, hospital admissions and visits to emergency rooms.
- Shortness of breath and increased coughing in people without underlying respiratory illnesses.
- The development of asthma and potentially increase susceptibility to respiratory infections.
- Reduce life expectancy in people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
Harmful levels of NO2 particles can also increase long term medical care costs associated with their negative respiratory impacts. Additionally, it can lead to the fading and discolouring of materials, furnishings, finishes and fabrics.
The burning of fuel such as coal, oil, gas or diesel is the primary source of NO2. High concentrations of NO2 are found around significant roads in towns and cities due to fumes from cars, trucks and buses, power plants, and off-road equipment.
30μg or a higher dose of NO2 is considered harmful. Besides quantity, the duration of exposure, i.e., how long one is exposed to unhealthy levels, plays a role.The NO2 Level map indicates a at this location.Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) is one of a group of highly reactive gases known as oxides of nitrogen or nitrogen oxides (NOx). NO2 is an intermediate in the industrial synthesis of nitric acid.
This map illustrates the likelihood of flooding at this location. Flood potential is assessed based on short-term and long-term risks arising from heavy or prolonged rainfall or snowmelt and the resulting rise in water level in rivers and the sea, surface water, reservoirs, and groundwater.
RiskOther types of risk include:
- Damage to property and power outage
- Injuries, infections and poisoning
- Disruption to mental wellbeing
- Floodwater can mix with pollutants such as pesticides and raw sewage to contaminate local waterways that supply drinking water long term.
- Disruption of access to health services and delayed recovery
Changing rainfall patterns, extreme storms, and rising sea levels due to climate change can increase flooding risk.
The Flood Level map indicates a at this location.
This map illustrates exposure to noise sourcing from roads and railways at this location. Unpleasant sounds that disrupt comfort in buildings, neighbourhoods and natural environments.
RiskExposure to prolonged or excessive noise creates many health, social and environmental problems.
- Stress and poor concentration
- Hypertension and cardiovascular diseases
- Cognitive impairment
- Hearing problems
- Mental health disorders such as anxiety
- Increased health care costs
- Trigger socially disruptive behaviour
- Biodiversity loss and animal habitat destruction
Any day to day sound can become noise depending on an individual’s perception of its loudness (decibels), frequency (hertz) and dynamic range (DR) and length of exposure to the sound. Noise associated with road, rail and air traffic is generally well monitored at the city and regional levels. Still, local noises from construction, noisy neighbours or pub/bars/events are equally disruptive.
Noise Pollution impacts millions of people daily. Concentration is hard at noise levels above 50 dB, but above 70 dB is may start to damage hearing. Above 120 dB causes immediate hearing loss: a few examples Lawnmowers (90 dB), Trains (90 to 115 dB).
The Noise Level map indicates a at this location, but you may have some localised issues linked with neighbours
This map illustrates the overheating potential at this location. Generally, urban areas will tend to overheat faster and more often than areas with vegetation and waterbodies close by. The UHI effect can also exacerbate the changes in the microclimate, leading to increasing atmospheric temperature.
- Heat stress: Insomnia, dizziness, headache, nausea, muscle spasms, cramps
- Higher risk of heatstroke
- Heat mortality
- Vulnerable populations- young, elderly, people with underlying illnesses in overcrowded or disadvantaged neighbourhoods are at high risk. Research has found that occupants in wealthy areas are also significantly at risk.
An ‘Urban Heat Island’ effect occurs when urban human-made surfaces and activities absorb considerable energy from the sun, intensifying the temperature difference between rural and urban locations. This condition mainly occurs in clustered buildings, narrow roads, polluted air, heavy traffic, energy-consuming industrial processes and areas without vegetation. The UHI effect is associated with building overheating in the summer if the building is not designed or equipped to manage this heat load. This leads to temperature extremes that evolve into a potentially life-threatening situation for the vulnerable population.
ASHRAE Standard 55-2017 “ Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy”, notes temperature between approximately 19 (19..4) and 28 (27.8) °C is comfortable. And anything above 26°C at night in bedrooms is considered an overheating risk (CIBSE Guide A). The UHI Level map indicates a at this location.