When buildings make people ill

Healthy indoor air is crucial for people's health and wellbeing, both at home and at their place of work. We spend up to 90% of the day in enclosed spaces. When combined with buildings designed to be increasingly well insulated, emissions from furnishings, cleaning products or building materials may have a major impact on ambient air quality and consequently on the health of the people inside.

argeted testing can usually establish whether so-called “indoor toxins”, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde or biological micro-organisms, may be causing health problems. We will be happy to advise and provide guidance during the evaluation and remediation work.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas which is present throughout Switzerland. If radon penetrates buildings and accumulates undetected, this may result in high levels of the gas and the associated harmful health effects.

Compulsory testing is carried out in schools and childcare settings, as well as in workplaces at particular risk (such as those underground). Individuals have a statutory right to have radon levels tested on a voluntary basis, such as at home or at their workplace. Dosimeters are a simple and cost-effective way of measuring levels of radon concentration.

Our radon specialists advise developers and construction professionals on the implementation of preventative safeguards for new builds and on the decontamination work to be undertaken in existing buildings.

Ecosens is certified to carry out air sample testing by the Swiss certification body for construction products (S-Cert AG) and is approved by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) to conduct radon testing.

Ecosens ist durch die Schweizerische Zertifizierungsstelle für Bauprodukte (S-Cert AG) für Luftmessungen zertifiziert und vom Bundesamt für Gesundheit (BAG) als Radonmessstelle anerkannt.

Our services:

  • Reports on ambient air quality and indoor toxins
  • Investigation of unpleasant odours
  • Investigation of mould and mildew
  • Sampling and ambient air testing for formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter, CO₂, mould and mildew and other substances
  • Hygiene inspection of ventilation systems according to SWKI VA 104-01 (VDI 6022 sheet 1)
  • Examination of wood preservative and house dust
  • Health assessments and toxicological evaluations
  • Workplace ambient air testing
  • Analysis of the source of air pollution
  • Radon testing in living spaces, schools, childcare settings and workplaces
  • Conducting ambient air testing for the Swiss Minergie-ECO certification
  • Advice on the selection and use of sustainable, healthy building materials, as well as site monitoring
  • Specialist advice when planning decontamination projects, remediation guidance
  • Communications advice for authorities, parties involved and the media
  • Applied research

Your contact in German-speaking Switzerland:

Pascal Diefenbacher Divisional manager for indoor air quality
Dr. sc. Environmental Sciences (Federal Institute of Technology)
pdiefenbacher@ecosens.ch +41 44 839 47 97 More

Pia Buser Project manager for indoor air quality, radon specialist
Diploma in Environmental Engineering, ETH (Federal Institute of Technology)
pbuser@ecosens.ch +41 44 839 47 45 More

Raphael Rapold Project manager: Indoor air quality
MSc. economic chemistry

rrapold@ecosens.ch +41 44 839 47 90 More

Your contact in French-speaking Switzerland:

Stefan Fuchs Partner, Fribourg branch manager
Diploma in Geological Sciences BENEFRI UniFR Geologist CHGEOL
sfuchs@ecosens.ch +41 26 422 39 55 More

Case studies

Air Quality and Ventilation Hygiene Study Zentrum Schluefweg, Kloten

Zentrum Schluefweg in Kloten has an extensive ventilation system network unchanged since the time of its introduction, which is to be renovated in stages over the next few years.


Measurements of Indoor Air Quality for DBNB Certification

In Stücki Park in Basel, Haus G ('Block G') was built and certified to the specifications of the SGNI (Swiss Sustainable Building Council). The Swiss certification system of the SGNI is based on the criteria of the internationally applied DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council) standard.


Testing the indoor air quality of an office space - Smell investigation and health / toxicological assessment of the indoor air

The offices of an authority in Eastern Switzerland are located in a former industrial building that is over 150 years old. Due to the employment of new staff, the authority rented additional office space in this building. However, an unpleasant, solvent-like and unusual smell was detectable in these facilities and made it impossible to remain there for any prolonged time.