Humans spend 90% of their time indoors. Yet, when we speak about air quality or air pollution, it tends to be in the context of what we breathe outside, neglecting what we breathe indoors. Maintaining a balance between indoor and outdoor air quality
To explain the importance of maintaining the balance, panellist displayed recent research conducted by Dyson. To measure the levels of pollution and PM 2.5 specifics Dyson used both indoor and outdoor sensors across the Los Angeles area over a period up to 4th July. The graph depicted the average outdoor air quality across the city in red and the indoor air quality in blue. The research unveiled, you can’t disconnect one from the other as the relationship is crucial from a scientific and human perspective.
The panellist also presented a data analysis – built depending on how often and how many people requested air quality data on the BreezoMeter API. The results depicted a tremendous growth of demand for air quality information, especially there was a spike around September last year’s California Wildfires. People across the US to Norway were impacted and became aware of the effect air pollution could have on humans.
Martin said, “It is important to monitor the air quality you breathe as it’s not going to take into account your physical and definitely not your geographic political border into consideration.”
The ongoing pandemic had made us aware of what we touch and breathe, which has, in turn, increased the demand for different types of air quality monitoring products and air quality improvement solutions.
Increase in CO2 monitoring
CO2 monitors are becoming a must-have device for someone that’s operating a building, as it indicates the amount of CO2 present in the air around us. It can also help measure the potential of virus spread – which explains the increase in demand for CO2 monitors in populated public indoor spaces.
Changes in ventilation
In a few countries, recirculation of air is used as an HVAC strategy to minimize the energy impact and the cost of operating the building. However, now they recommended switching to 100% outdoor air throughout all air handling units.
Speaking on the change, Tamir said, “When refreshing the air you may be allowing other outdoor pollutants to enter indoors. And when we go from a 20%-30% refresh rate to 100%, there are going to be unintended consequences beyond energy efficiency; since our HVACs aren’t designed for this degree of outdoor air, and the controllers may not have the composure required.”
Psychological impact of indoor air quality
In recent years, we have been surprised to discover the impacts of poor indoor air quality on people.
The Syracuse University Center of Excellence conducted a study into office air quality; the impact it has on our brains and our ability to perform as knowledge workers. They built a four-story laboratory with an advanced ventilation system and tuned the levels of CO2 and VOCs within the space. They invited workers to do their job in the lab for a couple of weeks at a time. They daily administered cognitive abilities tests that determined their cognitive abilities across nine different parameters and nine different areas. Results revealed that by just increasing the rate of ventilation in theirspaces, their cognitive abilities increased by 101%, including strategic thinking.
Impact of dynamic BMS and controllers
Dynamic Building management system (BMS) or the controllers in your building can help understand what’s happening outside, making our controllers more intelligent and simplifying management of different threats from indoors and outdoors air.
The tenants of the building, the residents, care about the air they breathe wherever they go. So, the building manager and the facilities manager should not only think about protecting the tenants when they are inside but also on their way to work and on their way back from work.