Thursday, June 9, 2016

Real-Time Monitoring of Indoor Air Quality

Real-time sensors for indoor air monitoring and challenges ahead in deploying them to urban buildings (11 page pdf, Kumar, P, Skouloudis, AN, Bell, M, Viana, M, Carotta, M-C, Biskos, G and Morawska, L, Science of the Total Environment, Apr.6, 2016)

Also discussed here: Is your home harming you? New research highlights deadly effects of indoor pollution (ScienceDaily, Apr. 19, 2016)

And here: Indoor Air Quality Monitoring System for Smart Buildings (5 page pf, Xuxu Chen, Yu Zheng, Yubiao Chen, Qiwei Jin, Weiwei Sun, Eric Chang, Wei-Ying Ma

Today we review research into the need for and specifications for monitors to measure indoor air quality which accounts for more deaths globally (4.8 M deaths) than outdoor air quality (3.7 M) and is much less understood by people. People tend to use a number of products such as fragrances, cleaning products etc without being aware of the health risks. Electronic monitors are now available at low economic costs which allow for real-time monitoring at short intervals in ore to detect short spikes and at several locations within a house or building. Another related finding is that outdoor air pollution is highest near the intersection of major roads and as a result, buildings near this location also have higher levels of indoor air pollution- which has implications for the siting of schools, hospitals and offices.


Key Quotes:

"When we think of the term 'air pollution' we tend to think of car exhausts or factory fumes expelling grey smoke. However, there are actually various sources of pollution that have a negative effect on air quality, many of which are found inside our homes and offices. From cooking residue to paints, varnishes and fungal spores the air we breathe indoors is often more polluted than that outside."

“In 2012 indoor air pollution was linked to 4.3 million deaths globally, compared with 3.7 million for outdoor air pollution….Household air pollution is ranked the 9th largest Global Burden of Disease risk”

 "Our work looks at the use of small, low-energy monitoring sensors that would be able to gather real-time data and tell families or workers when levels of pollutants are too high,"

“Typically, for compliance with ambient air quality regulations, measurements of carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), oxides of nitrogen (NO + NO2), benzene (C6H6) and VOCs, together with PM10 and PM2.5 are conducted”

“Perhaps even more fundamental, however, is the widespread lack of awareness of IAQ: ..not only that people are not aware of risks due to involuntary exposure to air .. but people tend to use fragrances, excessive cleaning products, candles for ambiance, and many other sources of indoor air pollutants, without understanding their contribution to IAQ problems.”

 “outdoor air pollution was at a high where buildings were located at traffic intersections. Even where there was low traffic volume, traffic intersections with densely built up surroundings showed twice the concentration than at open junctions.” “

"This has important implications for town planning and we should consider whether we really want schools, offices or hospitals to be built within these environments.”

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