The average adult breathes about 11,000 litres of air per day and we spend up to 90% of our time indoors. Substances such as Particulate Matter, CO2 and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are known to be harmful at high concentrations, while our body’s effectiveness to defend against airborne virus is affected by humidity and temperature. Being able to control and monitor these factors within recommended guidelines can enhance our cognitive function and reduce illness rates.
The majority of commercial interiors in the UK do not have adequate continuous monitoring of IAQ let alone the ability to feedback these factors to occupants. The CIBSE COVID-19 Ventilation guidance adopts a precautionary approach with the objective of ventilating spaces as much as reasonably possible with outside air as one measure to reduce transmission risk. For many building operators adopting this approach cannot truly ensure the effectiveness of these changes without continuous monitoring data.
There is also competing interests for data within the workspace, these are often not located in the correct locations to ensure occupants are safe and the building mechanical ventilation is effective. Consumer grade monitors also tend to be widely inaccurate and provide misleading data.
The good news is that there are now cost-effective solutions with wireless sensors that measure Particulate Matter, CO2, TVOCs, humidity and temperature which can be rapidly deployed to continuously monitor IAQ conditions. Commercial grade sensors that are certified and installed within the breathing space to RESET standards provide the building operator with real data on operational performance and can provide feedback to occupants to instil trust that their workspace is safe.
This can be further enhanced with the integration to the Building Management System to provide demand-based control based on real-time data.
To ensure a safe environment you need good data to make good decisions.