Problems around Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) continue to be identified as significant risk factors that directly impact the health of an individual throughout all socioeconomic levels across the world.
Irrespective of a person’s geographic location, household income or demographic, dangerous substances could be present in indoor air causing exposure levels that can result in direct health concerns.
Since humans tend to spend a substantial portion of their lives indoors, it is crucial to comprehend the spaces and factors that cause problems.
Regardless of whether it is the residences, classrooms, offices, assisted living facilities, day-care centers or other commercial indoor air environments, pollutants and substances impact the majority of the population — particularly those who are susceptible.
The CO2Meter guidelines given below rely on the specifications of each individual dangerous substance so that a base can be offered for protection, education and reduction of users’ indoor exposure while additionally decreasing the impact of these pollutants on people’s health.
The results of the study and guidelines have been directly sourced from actual case studies, public health officials, authoritative resources and findings based on scientific research and knowledge related to indoor air quality exposure.
Given below is are a set of guidelines based on a few of the major pollutants found in indoor air and the essential approaches to reduce each of the substances inside the indoor air environment.
“An organic compound composed of six atoms joined in a planar ring with one hydrogen atom attached to each. Because it contains only carbon and hydrogen atoms, benzene is classed as a hydrocarbon.”
Indoor hair includes a considerable amount of benzene, and inhalation is the primary source of human exposure to this substance. In humans, this substance acts as a genotoxic carcinogen, and there is no secure level of exposure.
Although benzene is present both indoors and outdoors, indoor concentrations can be significantly higher compared to outdoor air concentrations since indoor spaces tend to trap the gas, indicating why there are guidelines to detail the exposure limits.
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the so-called “Personal Exposure Limit (PEL) for C6H6 is 10 ppm.”
To decrease or prevent human activity that emits benzene, individuals should be aware of the following: using solvents, smoking tobacco, using certain cleaning materials or construction materials that off-gas benzene. Further ventilation methods will help reduce exposure and rely on the area of the indoor space.
In modern buildings, for instance, or indoor spaces near heavy traffic areas, fresh air inlets ought to be monitored and exhaust should be directed towards the least polluted side of the building or residence.
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
“A colorless, odorless, tasteless, flammable gas that is slightly less dense than air. Carbon monoxide consists of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom. It is the simplest molecule of the oxo carbon family.”
Carbon monoxide exposure can be dangerous to the health of an individual. CO is mostly denoted as a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas that must never be confused with carbon dioxide (CO2). CO cannot be seen, smelt or tasted.
This gas can turn deadly even before people know it is present. According to OSHA, the “Personal Exposure Limit (PEL) for CO is 50 ppm.” The widespread effects of exposure to CO can differ significantly from individuals based on age, health, status and direct exposure by concentration.
For instance, at low concentrations, CO can result in chest pain or fatigue. However, moderate to high concentrations could rapidly cause headaches, flu-like symptoms, impaired vision, dizziness, decreased brain function, nausea and even fatality.
HVAC Fundamentals vs. Indoor Air Quality
Quite similar to the ongoing need to further recognize indoor pollutants and assure a healthier living space, a closer look at the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system can provide an optimized surrounding that can offer various potential advantages for a company and its customers.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak occurred, an increasing number of people have become concerned with the overall link between HVAC optimizations and indoor air quality. According to OSHA, HVAC maintenance is more crucial and a key reason behind poor indoor air quality.
OSHA mainly claims that “Poor indoor air quality can result from poorly maintained HVAC systems and lead to headaches, fatigue, concentration problems, skin rashes, and eye, nose, or throat irritations.”
The majority of people consider that an HVAC system cools an indoor space. Yet, it is a well-conceived system that not only maintains a room's environment but also keeps the temperature and humidity constant. It thus has a direct impact on indoor air quality.
The air inhaled by a person is filtered by the system indoors; thus, it brings air in from outdoors and with it the contaminants that can remain indoors and lead to major problems if the system is not serviced regularly or maintained properly.
Furthermore, to mitigate “sick building syndrome,” designers and installers of HVAC systems have created such systems that can maintain a consistent flow of fresh, outside air into buildings.
The concept behind this is that wasting energy for conditioning outdoor air was the price that was paid to supply fresh air indoors. In certain cases, these systems offer non-stop fresh air or set on timers that open fresh dampers once the building is occupied.
CO2Meter continues to recommend the addition of ventilation and the regulation of humidity with correct indoor air quality monitoring devices. The company also recommends the use of the following measures to make a correct alliance and enhance indoor air quality and HVAC relationships — with CO2.
Five Reasons to Switch to a CO2-Controlled HVAC System
Both new builds and retrofits can leverage the benefits of Demand Control Ventilation based on a carbon dioxide monitor. There are five reasons why the addition of CO2 control to an HVACR system could help save money and energy.
- Indoor air quality — CO2 sensors solve the fresh air issue of the latest and sealed buildings
- Occupant comfort —Regulating CO2 levels creates a much healthier and pleasant work and living space
- Equipment life — Running DVC only when people are around decreases the wear and tear on the complete HVAC system
- LEED accreditation — CO2 sensing can help achieve LEED certification.
- Cost savings — Energy savings of nearly 30% have been reported for DCV systems
Besides using a CO2-controlled HVAC system, it is also crucial to stay away from HEPA filters (or other high-efficiency filters) as these trap virus particles, leading to poor air quality. High-efficiency filters present in HVAC systems could block airflow within the system, resulting in reduced comfort conditions and increased energy bills.
Furthermore, not every HVAC system can house filters with greater efficiency. Pragmatically, it is best to contact a certified HVAC technician and expert prior to making the decision to install filters and schedule regular maintenance to guarantee improved air quality and healthier indoor living space.
We take about 20,000 breaths each day and spend 90% of our time indoors. Reducing exposure to substances in the environment around us that trigger allergy and asthma symptoms is important. Eliminating these indoor triggers is a great place to start.
Kenneth Mendez, CEO and President, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality — Challenges vs Resolutions
For several individuals across the world, comprehending indoor air quality and its effect on human health is the initial step. However, understanding how to fight the possible negative impacts can usually seem a bit difficult.
Standards like ASHRAE 62 and the EPA guidelines make it simple to have a scientific basis for why ventilation needs are in place. But to guarantee improved air quality and ventilation, a few simple steps must be taken and standards should be complied with to ensure air quality and comfort.
People can be easily disheartened by looking at the regulations from all the organizations discussed above. The overabundance of roles of health and comfort, needed ventilation rates, building codes, contaminant concentration levels, outdoor air filtration and performance method can be intimidating.
Although such guidelines and recommendations must be taken seriously, CO2Meter offers five easy guidelines for enhancing IAQ, regardless of whether users are seeking to enhance the air present in their home, office space, classroom or commercial building.
The main aim of CO2Meter is to enhance “occupant” safety, health and well-being, and in doing so, the company can help ensure the health and safety of the public and spread awareness regarding the benefits of enhancing IAQ.
Indoor Air Quality Solutions
CO2Meter is aware of how the impacts of poor IAQ can directly impact an individual’s attention, health and cognitive reasoning. But what is highly significant is that effective indoor air solutions do exist to guarantee that the right to breathe is both free and healthy — for all.
Although indoor air pollution is considered to be a repeated problem impacting an extensive range of environments like schools, homes, offices and public transportation, it can be quantified, tracked and enhanced in each indoor space or scenario. All users need is the right device to perform that task.
CO2Meter takes great responsibility and pride in being able to not only educate the public and the customers regarding the significance of enhancing indoor air quality but also share with individuals the various types of indoor air quality (CO2) monitoring devices that are available for each indoor air quality application.
This article underlines Fixed or Wall Mount, Portable, Desktop and raw Sensor solutions that can guarantee a precise, economical and user-friendly set of solutions to enhance indoor living space via monitoring, in just seconds.
With such a huge amount of time spent indoors, it could not be a more important time to think about the air that one breathes and the contaminants that are persistent.
Discussed below are a few gas-sensing solutions for various types of gases — monitoring indoor air substances like carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia (NH3), temperature (TEMP), particulate matter (PM) and relative humidity (%RH).
The use of an indoor air quality monitor like the ones highlighted below enables users to guarantee people’s comfort, health, peace of mind, energy efficiency and increased productivity in indoor spaces.
Fixed/Wall-Mounted IAQ Solutions
For those looking to combine an indoor air quality monitor in a classroom, commercial building or office space, a fixed/wall-mounted indoor air quality solution could not be a more perfect choice. Fixed or wall-mounted gas detectors and monitors are special in that they are generally hard-wired and have been installed directly in poorly ventilated spaces.
Additionally, fixed or wall-mounted devices can trigger relays and activate third-party systems like the HVAC system, ventilation or building management systems. This renders the devices a much better solution by connecting to an HVAC system as there are several different modes and options to guarantee proper ventilation and efficiency.
Fixed/Wall Mount Option: Meet the (CM-225) CO2, Temp and RH Indoor Air Quality Monitor
The CM-225 is an easy, affordable, easy-to-maintain fixed wall-mounted device. This unit has been developed specifically for installation in indoor air surroundings like office buildings, classrooms, commercial settings or homes.
The CM-225 makes use of a three-color back-lit LCD display and offers a digital readout for individuals to view the present CO2 concentration levels. The unit consists of four user-selectable configurations based on installation and particular indoor air surroundings.
- Clear digital readout
- Bold three-color code indication
- Four preset programs based on preferred parameters
- ABC-enabled calibration
- Satisfies LEED certification
- The backplate can be pre-wired
- CE and ROHS compliant
- 100–240 AC power supply
- Mounting potential to a standard single gang junction box or conduit box
- It is simple to be interfaced with ventilation and window control systems
Desktop IAQ Solutions
One of the most general categories considered for indoor air quality solutions is devices that are made as desktop monitors. If an individual is looking for ways to implement an indoor air quality (IAQ) monitor for enhancing air filtration, saving energy, regulating CO2 levels or creating a healthier indoor surrounding, a desktop device is generally a safe and effective option.
All desktop indoor air quality solutions discussed below exhibit the potential to quantify gas concentrations to reduce the impacts of poor indoor air quality and airborne viruses and can also be used throughout classrooms, homes, office buildings or anywhere that occupant comfort is essential.
While every indoor air quality desktop solution is a little different, they are all developed not only to enhance users’ health but also to remove poor air quality effects and guarantee proper ventilation that is greater compared to the normal levels.
Desktop devices are just meant to quantify and show the data and not for control.
Image Credit: CO2Meter
Case Study: CO2 Sensors Help Improve Indoor Living Spaces
The most recent COVID-19 pandemic has made individuals more aware of IAQ levels and the need to enhance indoor air and reduce potential airborne illnesses.
CO2 sensors have helped people across the world gain better insights into just how much filtered air they are breathing depending on carbon dioxide concentrations, as well as identify when a room needs more ventilation.
To avoid or decrease high concentrations of CO2 in a building or room, fresh air must frequently be supplied to the area. Moreover, as soon as a CO2 sensor is combined, it can inform an individual that concentrations are above the normal threshold and gain back the focus, productivity and energy that occupants were lacking in the space.
CO2Meter has worked with various companies to offer CO2 sensors to not only enhance indoor air but also work towards tracking energy efficiency. By supervising CO2 levels, particularly in commercial buildings or smart homes, sensors can also be utilized to reduce electric and gas bills while additionally enhancing occupant health and well-being.
Since CO2 is the result of human respiration and metabolism, concentrations must frequently be supervised across several of the customer use cases. CO2Meter, for instance, works with a range of applications and suggests CO2 sensors like the GSS CozIR®-A 10,000ppm CO2 Sensor and CozIR®-LP3 1% CO2 Sensor.
Both technologies consume unbelievably ultra-low power, offer high precision and can be easily combined into IAQ applications.
To offer an additional point of view, a CO2Meter customer from North Carolina concentrates on its mission towards raising equipment performance and offering data analysis to guarantee customers benefit from the equipment their businesses depend on.
A particular project this company inquired about called upon a requirement for achieving real-time CO2 measurements to intentionally structure a smart technology build.
The company made use of the CoZIR-A 10,000 ppm CO2 Sensors, thanks to their small design, simple integration and low power consumption in their application. The project was a huge success as a result of the CO2 sensing data, and currently, there are plans for continued projects.
Rising trends of CO2 monitoring and sensing solutions will continue to emerge as air quality is a major topic regarding enhancing the health and prosperity of individuals throughout the world. Over the past few years, manufacturers of high-end gas sensing technologies have all produced sensors with various materials like photoacoustic spectroscopy.
Image Credit: CO2Meter
However, at present, solutions are being improved with respect to compact size, speed, precision, durability, power consumption and crafted with unique designs for particular OEM integration.
While air pollution, poor indoor air quality and airborne illnesses are constantly ranked as threats to public health, these problems will be overlooked and the requirement for correct monitoring and technologies to reduce such issues will be critical.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by CO2Meter, Inc.
For more information on this source, please visit CO2Meter, Inc.