Study: IEQ Assessment of Classrooms in Southern Spain

The aim of this paper is to give a review of the indoor environmental conditions in schools that are located in southern Spain as the climatological conditions tend to be middler and mechanical ventilated systems are not used in most cases either any kind of purification. There are many scientific papers that have documented the effects of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) upon productivity and performance within the workplace, but this paper is going to focus on the conditions and the means that are being used to control indoor air in public and private schools. Poor IEQ is known to be a factor causing health issues and has been connected with sick building syndrome (SBS) and reduced productivity (9% decrease) among white-collar workers through many studies. Covid-19 pandemic forced some schools to rethink the ventilation strategies but they rely heavily on window ventilation. This is an issue that persists in developing countries because of the lack of funds, however, it has not been given the attention it deserves in developed countries like Spain. Throughout this paper, we point out the main building factors which affect productivity (CO2, PM2.5, temperature, and humidity), without taking into consideration additional factors such as the effects of lighting and noise as they form part of the IEQ. Our main focus is to raise IEQ/IAQ awareness in places that are considered safe for the general public.

Read about the results and conclusion on ResearchGate.com

URL Link

Episode 8: London, UK – Indoor Air Pollution

Episode 8: London, UK – Indoor Air Pollution See The Air | Real Life Stories

My guest today is Robert John aka HUMAN SPACEMAN who is a purpose driven entrepreneur, visionary leader and innovator of human health improving solutions for property technology. Many say he was born do to make indoor environment better due to his severe childhood asthma and getting into the air cleaning industry with only 19 years of age. Today, over 20 years later he is the founder of Terraform Global based in London, UKLinkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-john-spaceman/

My guest today is Robert John aka HUMAN SPACEMAN who is a purpose driven entrepreneur, visionary leader and innovator of human health improving solutions for property technology. Many say he was born do to make indoor environment better due to his severe childhood asthma and getting into the air cleaning industry with only 19 years of age. Today, over 20 years later he is the founder of Terraform Global based in London, UK

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-john-spaceman/

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Air Quality Forecast – App Comparison

I am the kind of person that likes things organized and always planned. During the pandemic, I took up hiking as a new hobby. I spend a lot of time indoors working in front of the computer, so I decided that it was time to find an activity in nature where I will be able to look as far away as possible in order to extend my view field and exercise my eyesight. The location I live allows me to do that hobby reality but air quality is not always optimum.

As you may know, I live in southern Spain and although traffic pollution is an issue, when I hike in the hills there is a different type of pollution that may be present, the Saharan Dust. In 2021 I have noticed that cross-border pollution events are more frequent. There are no constant warnings from local media or local authorities about these kinds of events. Newspapers or TV news will only mention them only when there is nothing else to talk about.

So when I want to go outside and practice that sport, I check not only the weather forecast but the air quality forecast from various apps and web services. In this article, I will compare three air quality services and apps that I mostly use and see if they offer an accurate forecast. The apps are eLichens Air, Plume Labs, and Windy.

The method is simple. The night before hiking, I check the AQ forecast with these three apps, and then the next day I check the actual AQ measurements from my sensors and the apps again.

Friday Night 7-May-2021 | Forecast

Saturday Morning 8-May-2021 | Real-Time

Here is the first comparison. At night of Friday 7th May, I checked the AQ for the next morning at 11am. The forecast data predicted by the Plume Labs and the eLichens Air show an index value and not a mass concentration (μg/m3) like Windy does. In most cases companies use a proprietary AQI and in order to be able to compare them I will need to “decrypt” them. I wasn’t able to find any documentation for the eLichens Air AQI.

Plume Labs gave me an AQI 21 for PM2.5 which according to their documentation corresponds to a value below 25μg/m3. eLichens Air gave me an AQI 16 for PM2.5 which I estimate it corresponds to a value below 12μg/m3. Windy estimated 8μg/m3.

The following day, I checked the measurements at the exact time like the night before plus the real-time values from my outdoor sensors. PM2.5 values were at 5μg/m3 and the eLichens Air, Plume Labs, and Windy gave me almost the same values of 9μg/m3 and 17/18 AQI which are roughly the same.

Saturday Night 8-May-2021 | Forecast

Sunday Morning 9-May-2021 | Real-Time

The second test revealed similar PM2.5 forecast values (20 AQI) between the Plume Labs and the eLichens Air and an estimated value of 14μg/m3 from Windy.

The following morning, the real-time values from the apps were far different from the in-situ values as my outdoor sensor measured 4μg/m3 and the apps gave me a value of 15 AQI and 16μg/m3.

Conclusion

In their defense, there are not lots of available data here because our local AQ station doesn’t share openly PM2.5 data. So they work with models that are not able to give better results. In different parts of the world where spatial coverage is better and official stations share PM2.5 values with the public, they have better results. Some apps rely on satellite imagery, but again satellites pass over Spain once a day and they have a 3.5km by 5km resolution like the sentinel-5 precursor (my favorite so far). I take them into account to make a rough estimation of the following day and of course, I check the data from my local outdoor sensors.

Episode 7: Guatemala – Traffic/Stubble Burning/Power Plants

Episode 7: Guatemala – Traffic/Stubble Burning/Power Plants See The Air | Real Life Stories

My guest today is Christian Saravia who is an Industrial Engineer, Master's Degree in Water Resources Management; Postgraduate in Environmental Management from the University of Dresden Germany; Founder of the scientific project A M B E N T E in Guatemala.This episode is available in English and Spanish.Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christian-saravia-s/Twitter: @Chrisaravia

My guest today is Christian Saravia who is an Industrial Engineer, Master’s Degree in Water Resources Management; Postgraduate in Environmental Management from the University of Dresden Germany; Founder of the scientific project A M B E N T E in Guatemala.

This episode is available in English and Spanish.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christian-saravia-s/
Twitter: @Chrisaravia

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Air Quality Monitors in transports – Why do we need at least CO2 monitoring?

After the fiasco with the exposure notifications on smartphones which was designed by Apple and Google to facilitate digital contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic, we realized that governments weren’t ready to accept the terms of the service for privacy reasons probably and also users weren’t keen on enabling such feature probably for the same reasons.

We have to be able to monitor the situation in indoor environments beyond the location of an individual and we already do that with air quality monitors. Indoor air quality monitors help us see the air we are exposed to and when something isn’t right like high CO2 concentrations, we get notified to act by opening the windows or turning on the ventilation system, or eventually leaving the room if none of the latter are an option.

I propose to bring that kind of awareness to the indoor environments of transports, especially, in long-distance buses, airplanes, and trains as we spend substation time inside these transports and we all share the same air.

Most vehicles allow drivers to choose between outdoor air or recycled air. They never ever mention the benefits of fresh air (but not clean) to the drivers, so in most cases, drivers never change the settings. Have you ever been in a car for a long time, having the recycled air turned on? The drivers always complain about the lack of focus or energy and many passengers fall asleep. In most cases, this is due to the lack of oxygen and the high CO2 concentration which is scientifically proved to affect and decrease cognitive function.

The same thing applies inside an airplane. However, the pilots get the most oxygen from the rest of the occupants in the plane, but still, I am not sure if the bus drivers know about the indoor air quality (IAQ) of their buses and the outdoor air or where is the recycled air switch.

Not only that, we know that CO2 is a great indicator of ventilation rates and consequently indicates the viral load inside a transport. A viral load is a numerical expression of the quantity of virus in a given volume of air. The higher the viral load the most likely is to catch the virus, any virus, or pathogen.

Air quality data like CO2/PM2.5 are not as privacy-sensitive as location information and they can help us in mitigating the spread of diseases and improving our cognitive abilities and health. Clean air means healthy lungs, heart, and brain.

Indoor air quality monitors are relatively inexpensive and CO2 sensors can operate for up to 15 years. They will also reveal the truth about the air we breathe in cities. I know that not many council members want people to know that the air they are exposed to daily is poor and unhealthy but if you are a good politician with real morals and compassion for your fellow dwellers then you want the best for them.

So maybe it is time to start designing indoor air quality monitors for transports. They can work offline or online depending on the transport. Passengers can access the information as their ticket can host a QR code with the link of the specific monitor/transport/route. In the case of an off-line monitor then a display with clear readings will allow passengers and the staff/cabin crew of the transport to adjust the indoor conditions.

Episode 6: Delhi, India – Traffic/Stubble Burning

Episode 6: Delhi, India – Traffic/Stubble Burning See The Air | Real Life Stories

My guest today is Abhiir an active youth environmentalist from India.Abhiir has worked on climate change for over 8 years – particularly on air pollution and waste segregation and has been identified by the BBC as among the foremost international youth environmentalists.Twitter: @abhiirbhallaLinkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/abhiirbhalla/

My guest today is Abhiir an active youth environmentalist from India.

Abhiir has worked on climate change for over 8 years – particularly on air pollution and waste segregation and has been identified by the BBC as among the foremost international youth environmentalists.

Twitter: @abhiirbhalla

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/abhiirbhalla/

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Comparison: CO2 Monitors – Why do we need them in indoor environments?

I should have written this comparison a long time ago, but I was very busy the past few months. A lot of you have insisted, so here it is.

A CO2 monitor is the number one tool that can help us understand ventilation rates in indoor environments and consequently mitigate the spread of airborne viruses like coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), but let’s not forget the common flu either.

Carbon Dioxide CO2 can decrease our cognitive ability. The correlation between CO2 and productivity has been studied a lot for over 50 years by many academics. Interesting facts, the design standard for CO2 levels in most buildings is 1000ppm but the recommended concentration is below 700ppm. In one of the studies, Harvard researchers have found significant negative impact at 930 ppm.

According to World Green Building Council, they estimate the reduced absenteeism through sick days to be worth ~$35/m2. Again the World Green Building Council estimates that if employees’ productivity improves by even a 5% because of better IAQ, that alone would be worth ~$400/m2.

The monitors are divided into two categories, the ones that can be carried with you (portable/wearable) and the fixed ones and in most cases professional solutions. Each monitor offers different characteristics. Sometimes just because it has more features, it doesn’t mean that it is the right tool for you.

Most of the monitors offer much more than just CO2 monitoring. We spend a lot of time indoors and a more holistic approach is needed sometimes when it comes to indoor air quality (IAQ) or indoor environmental quality (IEQ).

The monitors are:

Analox CO2BUDDY

The CO2BUDDY is the only wearable CO2 monitor that can be used in so many places and for a variety of reasons. Very important for professionals that work in places where the conditions are extreme. Closed or crowded indoor spaces.

Aranet4 HOME

Aranet4 is a small and portable CO2 monitor that surprises people. It can be used as an indicator of productivity in schools and office buildings. It is packed with smart features for those that want to log measurements and share them later on.

Awair OMNI

Awair OMNI is a well-thought product that has one aim, to help professionals see the air and address potential issues. The Awair Display Mode allows users to display any information from the monitor to a big screen inside a bar, restaurant, office, school, etc. It features up to 8 hour battery and logs data on-device. It complies with the most common certifications from WELL V1, LEED, Fitwel, LBC, and RESET.

Ethera Labs TX mini

The Ethera Labs XT Mini ensures quality and competitive monitoring systems with great cloud platforms for all needs and budgets. By connecting the monitor to BMS, they manage to achieve energy efficiency while directly managing the ventilation system, as well as portable air purifiers. It is the only monitor that can be connected to a PC via USB and upload data locally.

Kaiterra Sensedge mini

The Sensedge Mini is a great and accessible choice for those that wish to get or not air quality certification by RESET, LEED, WELL, and others as the monitor complies with their requirements. The removable sensor modules reduce maintenance costs and ensure accuracy, something really important when you want to offer comfort and health to the building’s occupants.

Airthings Wave Plus

Airthings Wave Plus is designed for professionals and homeowners (different plans). It offers a great dashboard that makes air quality data comprehensive. Excellent low power CO2 sensor that runs on two AA batteries for up to 16 months and the colour LED ring can indicate the high CO2 levels. Additionally, it can measure Radon which is a radioactive gas.

Analox Air Quality Guardian

The Air Quality Guardian comes with a large LCD display that provides plenty of clear information for those professionals that don’t have the luxury of time to continually take their phones out of their pockets in order to check the CO2 concentrations and trends. Very loud alarm and great traffic light system🚦 where 3 LED lights will turn on depending on the concentration of CO2 in the indoor environment.

airthinx IAQ

Airthinx IAQ is designed for professionals, however, it is also available to homeowners too. The dashboard offers so many features that can really help you build a solid business model around it as you can rent the device(s) to third parties. The company provides a solid ecosystem of hardware and software, hard to resist.

Quick Comparison

All monitors deliver great CO2 measurements as I have tested them all. They all feature a non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) sensor which is the best among the low-cost sensors because of their accuracy and low-power consumption.

Each monitor has unique features, so read each review individually to discover if it is the right fit for you.

Episode 5: Sheffield, UK – Professional Opinion

Episode 5: Sheffield, UK – Professional Opinion See The Air | Real Life Stories

In this episode, James Heydon, who lives in Sheffield UK, will share with us his professional thoughts on air pollution.
James is an Assistant Professor in Criminology.
You may think, how can a criminologist shed light on air pollution!
Well, James is currently researching air pollution regulations, and his academic studies in human behavior could help us understand better why most people neglect to think about the air they breathe.

Twitter: @Jwheydon

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Review: Air Quality Guardian by Analox

This is the second Analox product review that I have written on my blog. I like the product range and the solutions that Analox offer to professionals. The first review was about the CO2BUDDY, a portable/wearable carbon dioxide (CO2) monitor. In this review, I will write about the Air Quality Guardian. The Air Quality Guardian is a CO2 monitor station, designed for those that don’t want unnecessary smart features and too many bells and whistles.

The large LCD display provides plenty of clear information for those professionals that don’t have the luxury of time to continually take their phones out of their pockets in order to check the CO2 concentrations and trends. Keep in mind, the monitor measures other environmental parameters as well.

Specifications

  • 4” backlit LCD screen
  • CO2 Sensor Low drift NDIR (Non dispersive infra-red) CO2  sensor with a long lifespan 
  • Temperature and Relative Humidity Sensor
  • Simple 4 button navigation
  • Built-in data logging 
  • Simple three-level indoor air quality indication system including: 
  • Configurable audible and visual alarms
  • Power and charge via mini USB
  • 8 hour battery backup
  • Wall mountable or desktop
  • Dimensions 120 x 90 x 35 mm 4.75 x 3.5 x 1.4 in
  • CE, UKCA, RoHS 2.0 and FCC compliant
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Awair OMNI + Djinn

I love combining technologies and services because this is a great and inexpensive way for companies to expand their businesses and for users to have a better experience. Awair has developed a great B2B air quality monitor the OMNI (hardware) and Djinn has developed a great B2B service (software) that combined together may offer better AQ insights or in other words, they contextualize data.

So I took the liberty to use the API Awair provides to its users and integrate it into Djinn’s platform. The reason is simple, Awair measures a plethora of parameters (temperature, humidity, PM2.5, VOC, CO2, noise, and light), and Djinn provides better insights into the impact those various indoor environmental parameters have on our health, like cardiovascular health risk and allergy risk. However, they also provide the productivity index which estimates the quality of the indoor environment with regard to the influence on productivity.

In real-life situations (offices, classrooms, etc) low-quality indoor environments may result in productivity drop up to 10% and more. Often in such cases, indoor environment quality is not comprehended by a person during the work process. The productivity index is based on research by cognitive scientists from various Universities.

According to the researchers, Human Decision Making Performance may be divided into different cognitive functions. Djinn service is able not only to estimate a general level of productivity, called Integral Productivity Index (IPI) but specify it for 9 cognitive activity areas based on research. An IPI is calculated as the average of all 9 directions. Those different models allow you to tune indoor parameters for optimal productivity according to your needs.

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