Are you more concerned about air pollution levels outside or inside (in our offices, schools & public buildings)? Are you aware of the impact of poor air quality on our ability to concentrate on a task and cognitive function, not to mention health?
We tend to believe the biggest danger is from exhaust fumes, manufacturing emissions, construction and other pollutants that are mostly released outdoors.
A 2016 study found that indoor air pollution may have caused or contributed to 99,000 deaths per year across Europe. In fact, the report goes further to quantify the risk;
Despite the evidence of harm from indoor air pollution, the current UK legislation still only tackles outdoor (or ambient) air quality. Organisations like BESA (the Building Engineering Services Association) have responded with a campaign to promote the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ) in our buildings.
Practical considerations for indoor air quality
Through its research and work to develop outdoor air quality monitoring systems, South Coast Science inevitably started applying the same thinking to indoor air quality.
For example, air quality outside a building can have a significant effect on indoor air if no measures are taken to manage the transfer of air into the building. After all, why open doors and windows to increase ventilation if the outdoor air is more polluted than that inside?
The key pollutants to monitor indoors are PM1, PM2, PM10, CO2, NO2 and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Temperature and humidity should also be monitored and managed.
Effective air quality improvement starts with accurate monitoring
Monitoring both inside and outside the building is the first step. Building managers need to understand how air quality varies throughout the day and in different parts of the building. Monitoring is also necessary to review whether or not initiatives create the desired outcomes.
South Coast Science is currently developing the Praxis/IAQ in consultation with environmental consultancy experts and in accordance with the WELL Building standard.
The Praxis/IAQ uses the same sensor technology and data interpretation models as the Praxis/Urban and Praxis/OPCube (for outdoor air quality). Monitoring data is sent directly to the cloud: the South Coast Science open source infrastructure makes it easy to integrate with existing building infrastructure. There’s also a sustainability aspect – most IAQ devices must be discarded when the sensors require renewal. With the Praxis/IAQ, however, sensors can be replaced without needing to replace the entire unit, reducing electrical waste.
Following the efforts to create legislation (both nationally and globally) for outdoor air quality, it’s anticipated that indoor air quality will come under increasing scrutiny. To talk with us about indoor or outdoor air quality monitoring please contact David Johnson.
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