Countless times, I have said that it is very important to monitor our indoor air quality side by side with the outdoor air quality. A collaboration between Airthings and Airly brought the best of both worlds, ambient air quality and indoor air quality monitoring in one place. Unfortunately, this solution is available only to the business customers but we can always hope that the demand will drive the feature to the consumer clients as well.
Why in & out AQ monitoring is important?
Our indoor air quality depends on many factors like building material, furniture, and indoor activities (cooking in a home or printing documents in an office, the perfumes people wear, etc). All of these factors will deteriorate indoor air quality from the inside but indoor air quality is subject to outdoor conditions too. Vehicle traffic, marine traffic (in case you live near a port), wood-burning, industrial activities in the area, and wildfires are some of the reasons that will affect indoor air quality as buildings need to breathe or ventilate if you want.
Long story short gamification works and should be adopted by IoT Air Quality Monitor and their Air Quality apps in order to achieve a behavior change.
What is gamification?
Gamification is adding game mechanics into non-game environments, like a website, a fitness app, or air quality apps to increase participation. The goal of gamification is to engage with users to inspire, collaborate, share, and interact.
Let’s take as an example Apple’s fitness app, those who wear an Apple Watch they know what I am talking about. Each month the application engages users by offering them a digital award, as a result, last month I had to burn actively 19.300 calories in order to win a shine yellow badge. On special days the app encourages you to complete a specific workout to win a special award like for the World Environment Day or Earth’s Day.
Back in April, I and uRADMonitor shipped 5 Smoggie-PM to 5 volunteers in order to help them raise awareness but also to investigate what people breathe in other parts of the world, like in Belgium, Uganda, Azerbaijan, the USA, and Spain. Unfortunately, the US volunteer doesn’t respond to my emails and he hasn’t set the monitor up yet. I hope he is fine and covid-19 or any other possible problem hasn’t affected him.
In this article, I will analyze the data from two of the locations in order to determine the Air Quality (AQ) and get some conclusions that will help my volunteers. Here are some of the photos the volunteers have sent me.
It is always recommended to place the AQ monitors under the shade as sunlight can increase the internal temperature and consequentially the measurements of temperature and humidity will be incorrect.
Someone may ask what more they can offer to an already saturated market of air quality monitors. The answer is simple: Experience! TSI Incorporated is a USA-based company with more than 60 years of experience and knowledge thanks to the 1000 researchers and engineers that work for the company worldwide. They hold more than 50 patents.
Recently, TSI released the AirAssure which is an IoT-enabled Indoor Air Quality Monitor (AQM) designed specifically for buildings that really need to have an in-depth and accurate view of the indoor air quality. The monitor comes in two versions the 4-gas and 6-gas variation. I am going to review the 4-gas AirAssure IAQM that comes with a Formaldehyde, Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, and Total Volatile Organic Compounds sensors. Apart from the 4 or 6 gas sensors configurations, all versions come with a particulate matter sensor and a temperature/humidity/barometric pressure sensor. Also, a new CO2 and VOC model will be released this autumn.
Technical Specs 4-Gas AirAssure
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Total Volatile Organic Compounds (tVOC)
Particulate matter (PM)
Temperature, Relative humidity and Barometric pressure
On 22nd September 2021, the World Health Organization released the so long-awaited update of the Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs). They are bold and ambitious but will governments adopt them?
Let’s see how the updated AQGs compare to the old ones, which were released in 2005. The classical pollutants (Particulate Matter PM2.5/10, and NO2) have been reduced significantly. They have introduced additional AQG levels, such as for peak season Ozone (O3), 24-hour averaging time for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), and Carbon Monoxide (CO). On the contrary, they have increased the Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) levels from 20 μg/m3 to 40 μg/m3.
It is unfortunate true the fact that I have encountered a lot of people who think that nasal hair will stop all air pollutants from being inhaled and reach the lungs, or as we now know, the heart and brain. They feel completely sure that they are safe irrelevant the concentration of the pollution.
The human nose is an extraordinary human organ that offers us so much, many times we don’t even appreciate its function until we lose it. It can warn us that something isn’t right, for example, food has gone bad, or the presence of toxic gases in a close/open environment but it can also offer us a pleasant sensation when we smell a rose or lavender flowers.
In August 2021 (summer in Northern Hemisphere), I travelled from Spain to Greece in order to visit my parents as I hadn’t see them for a long time due to the pandemic. I visited 10 countries and I evaluated the air quality with a portable air quality monitor (Atmotube PRO) but as well as the behavior of the people in these countries as they tend to have different customs when it comes to cooking or transporting around the cities.
This evaluation is very narrow because of the fact that I didn’t stay longer than a day or two in each city so take it with a pinch of salt. Also, the climatological conditions were entangled to the summer month of August and high temperatures were expected in the Mediterranean coastline. Wildfires are more likely to occur during the dry month of August and indeed I witnessed a few in the Balkans.
Autumn and Winter are almost here for the Northern Hemisphere which means a vast majority of the population is going to leave terraces and other open outdoor spaces for indoor spaces (offices, classrooms, homes, indoor restaurants, etc). Covid-19 is still present, but most importantly, we are going to breathe lots of indoor air. We need to take control of the air we breathe as indoors is much easier to diminish the quantity of pollutants we inhale than been outside.
Covid-19 has ruined the lives of many people, personally, I believe that it is very easy to combat the spread of the virus in enclosed spaces, but we need to follow the rules of proper ventilation and purification combined. Scientists have developed various kinds of technologies that can capture pollutants and pathogens. I don’t want to focus very much on the pandemic rather than how important is to breathe clean and fresh air indoors for so many other reasons.
Wildfires: some say that we have to learn to live with them, some say that we need to stay indoors and close doors, windows, and ventilation systems until the plumes of smoke settle down, but in reality, we have to do something else, I will elaborate on that in a flaming hot minute!
Wildfires are very dangerous and destructive for many reasons. When I read on the news that a new fire started even in the most remote location in the world, I take a deep breath because it can happen to anyone and everywhere. It has happened to my parents’ house, and a vast feeling of impotency takes your whole body. In most cases, we worry about the destructiveness, but it is more than that.
Wildfires can occur naturally but unfortunately in most cases, they are byproducts of unconscious anthropogenic behaviour because we leave trash everywhere. Glass bottles that work as magnifying glass under the hot summer sunlight, cigarette buds, fireworks, BBQs are some of the common reasons wildfires start.
Not many people know this but wildfires create new wildfires through pyrocumulus clouds which basically are the cloud plumes that are electrically charged, as a result, lightning bolts come out of the pyrocumulus clouds which light new fires a few kilometers away. Firefighters have a hard time controlling multiple fronts and those kinds of fronts are unpredictably created.