Extensive research has shown that indoor air quality is often worse than outdoors. Closed system buildings trap harmful particles inside, and external air intakes can bring in more polluted air from outside.
Whilst many heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) use particle filtering, managed through air exchanges, they can often worsen levels of polluting gases, such as NO2 – now classified by the World Health Organisation as a Class 1 carcinogen. Natural ventilation systems have no particulate filtration at all, and buildings are also frequently completely shut up all night with no ventilation running, trapping the pollution that has built up over the day.
Unlike outdoor air quality (which the government is responsible for), indoor air quality is the responsibility of the building owner or manager, and with research proving that poor air quality has a significant impact on human health, air pollution should be a key factor of employee health & safety.
Future Decisions has teamed up with AQMesh and UK distributor, Air Monitors Ltd, to supply pollution mitigation to improve indoor air quality. Future Decisions has developed patented smart management strategies that aim to reduce internal air pollution by 30% – this is usually enough to bring the air quality within UK & EU regulatory levels, and often within the World Health Organisation levels.
AQMesh measures NO, NO2, O3, NOx, CO, CO2, SO2, PM1, PM2.5, PM10, temperature, pressure and relative humidity in a small pod which can be mounted both indoors and outdoors on a wall or post. Batteries, solar power and DC power options give flexibility of mounting anywhere. AQMesh was designed to offer an easy-to-use air quality monitoring system that can deliver localised real-time readings, improving the accuracy and scope of gathering air quality data in order to support initiatives to reduce air pollution and its risk to human health.
Two AQMesh pods were used to measure NO, NO2, O3 and CO during May and June 2017 at Upplands Motor Stockholm AB car dealership in Sweden, located on the highway between Stockholm city centre and Arlanda airport. The objective was to measure the air quality outside and inside the combined showroom and workshop, demonstrating the importance of measuring common traffic-related pollutants indoors as well as outdoors. The project was also to assess the suitability of AQMesh for this application, including ease of installation and relocation.
The car dealer is situated immediately next to a major highway and the premises are used for car servicing and repairs as well as sales. The air in the building is managed using a standard heating and ventilation management system which ensures adequate air exchange when the building is in operation.
One of the pods was moved indoors between 9th May and 9th June – this can be clearly seen in the temperature plot comparison for both pods during May and June (the pod moved indoors is shown by the blue line on the plot below). The indoor unit showed significantly elevated levels of NO and CO indoors during that time, compared to the unit which remained outside. Although the NO levels indoors largely tracked the outdoor levels, they were consistently around 40-50ppb higher. This may be because the ventilation system is not adequately exchanging air indoors, as the ventilation system in the building is activated at 7am and stops at 6pm when the dealer closes for the day.
The AQMesh pods were then mounted together outdoors again at the end of the indoor trial, clearly showing that the units continued to agree with each other when measuring in the same space, with a pod-to-pod R2 of over 0.8.
Whilst many heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) focus on CO2 measurement – managed through air exchanges – and particle filtration, they can actually make levels of common pollution gases, such as NO2, worse. Air intakes may be situated where outdoor air quality is poor, such as in a car park or near a road, air intake is often during busy traffic periods, and HVAC systems may be switched off just as outdoor air is clearing, trapping pollution indoors overnight.
With diesel exhaust fumes – which include NO2 – now classified as a class 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organisation, forward-thinking companies, such as Upplands Motor, are becoming the first to understand these issues and are focusing on management of indoor air to ensure that the air quality for their workers is at least better than outdoors. AQMesh can also quantify exposure of employees to NO2 and other pollutants when working outdoors, such as on civil engineering sites, directing traffic, or driving a bus.
AQMesh was designed to offer an easy-to-use air quality monitoring system that can deliver localised real-time readings, improving the accuracy and scope of gathering air quality data in order to support initiatives to reduce air pollution and its risk to human health. It continues to be proven as a reliable and accurate instrument for monitoring air quality, whether indoors or outdoors.