Air quality has not always been a major concern for buildings and schools but this is changing. The fact that indoor air is often even more polluted than outdoor air is becoming common knowledge and has led to many recent studies on the link between indoor air quality (IAQ), employee/student health and productivity.
Another, more immediate concern is the pandemic. The severity of the current threat around COVID-19 has catapulted occupant health and safety to the top of the priority list as some companies and schools begin to reopen and resume normal activities. The CDC, EPA, and ASHRAE have all released guidelines regarding various aspects of reopening. Additionally, a wealth of data exists about what constitutes a healthy work environment, from building temperature and humidity levels to particulate matter and waterborne pathogens.
Unfortunately, for most facilities managers and school administrators, meeting healthy building requirements poses a problem: You cannot manage what you cannot “see.” IotaComm’s smart building platform with IAQ sensors and analytics can be your answer. Continuous monitoring of IAQ enables a profile of the indoor air environment to be created, and an analysis of the recorded data through IotaComm’s customized dashboard which allows for more efficient energy management and optimal indoor air quality. The platform is being used as an analytical tool to identify trends and rectify problem areas, leading to better indoor air conditions and safer, more comfortable working and learning environments.
IotaComm’s IAQ sensors can measure various parameters:
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
- Particulate Matter (PM) – a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets suspended in the air, such as dust, pollen, smoke and soot.
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – organic chemicals emitted as gases from products or processes, like cleaning agents and dehumidifiers.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, IotaComm has been on the forefront of helping facilities managers and school administrators reopen their buildings and schools by deploying our IAQ live monitoring system and state of the art user friendly dashboard. IotaComm’s most recent implementation of IAQ sensors has helped Friends Seminary in New York open safely. Like many schools, Friends Seminary began reopening efforts by developing cohort scheduling, rethinking room configurations to de-densify campus/maintain physical distancing, preparing for daily cleaning and screening procedures. The COVID-19 response team soon realized, however, that to mitigate transmission they also needed to address IAQ through HVAC operations and that’s where IotaComm was engaged as a solutions partner.
IotaComm, in collaboration with The Stone House Group, helped Friends Seminary meet their goals, ensured the facilities maximized ventilation through dilution and filtration of air, monitored the effectiveness using IAQ sensors, data aggregation and analysis on a real time monitoring platform. View the full case study and how IotaComm’s solutions were implemented HERE.
In order to ensure proper ventilation continued across campus after initial operational adjustments, Friends Seminary was able to continuously monitor their environment through IotaComm’s IAQ sensors, which were deployed in classrooms and offices.
IAQ sensors have been effective in monitoring ventilation as it pertains to COVID-19 transmission mitigation. Teachers and staff at Friends Seminary were curious and ecstatic to learn school spaces were going to be monitored. Beyond that, the collected data has begun to inform Friends Seminary about other health and wellness areas such as the ongoing monitoring and adjustment of classroom temperatures to lessen the impacts on learning.
How can you use IAQ sensor data?
Use IAQ sensor data to:
1) Reopen your building/school safely. The data derived from these IoT sensor devices can help you answer the question: Does my building’s IAQ meet ASHRAE or other national standards?
2) Maintain optimal working or living conditions for students and occupants. Continuous air monitoring allows you to definitively diagnose your building’s air quality in real-time, so you will always have an answer to the question: Is my building’s IAQ safe?
3) Improve the efficiency (& cost effectiveness) of your ventilation system. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is often used as a surrogate for building occupancy level—the more occupants present in a room or building, the more CO2 is released into the air. To prevent CO2 levels from rising too high (and having a negative impact on occupants), outside air must be deliberately drawn into the building through a ventilation system. Often, however, this effort unnecessarily overworks the ventilation system, wasting energy. By monitoring CO2 levels and providing ventilation on an as-needed basis—called demand control ventilation—you can maintain healthy air quality and reduce your energy use.
Need a knowledgeable partner who can help you improve your facility’s IAQ?
If you’re looking for guidance around improving IAQ as it relates to your own facility, IotaComm can help.
We specialize in IoT remote monitoring and have helped many companies identify specific air quality issues and address them proactively. We will outfit your building with IoT sensors in one or two days that can monitor a variety of air quality characteristics and create a dashboard tailored to you that provides visual insight into your building’s environmental conditions. We will also help you decipher all that data and offer recommendations about ways you can minimize pollutants and improve your building’s overall air quality. Schedule a call with our team today!