On Clean Air Day 2022, Jeff Smith, Envirotech Partner – Director of Digital Solutions, explains how wellSPACE produces in excess of 500,000 live readings a year to help make buildings safer and healthier for occupants.
“Everyone has become acutely aware of the airborne risks associated with viruses such as COVID-19, however as we move towards a post pandemic landscape people are seemingly far less aware of the issues related to everyday occurrences within the workplace, such as the use of cleaning products, paints, carpets, glues, resins, printers, photocopiers and the displacement of dust.
This is where wellSPACE can make a significant difference, with one of our clients taking the simple yet effective decision to improve Indoor Air Quality by changing to wholly organic cleaning products after observing the data regarding airborne chemicals in their workplace!
“For context, the World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies a number of serious long-term illnesses associated with poor air quality around the globe, including lung conditions from asthma to cancer; heart disease; Alzheimer’s disease; and inflammatory conditions. Closer to home and air pollution is one of the biggest health problems we face today. In the UK, it is the fourth biggest killer and estimated that the health impacts from air pollution is likely to result in between 24,000 and 36,000 deaths every year.
“The air that we breathe outdoors includes a combination of carbon, sulphates, nitrates and water produced by diesel and petrol engines; friction from car brakes, dust from roads and construction works, as well as wood-burning fires. Outdoor pollutants will enter a building through windows, doors and gaps in the structure and are drawn into buildings by mechanical ventilation systems or air conditioning, and then once combined with airborne chemicals in the workplace such as those from cleaning products, paints, carpets, glues, resins, printers, photocopiers and dust this creates a potentially serious cocktail.
In the UK, we spend a large proportion of our time indoors, around 90% of our day, so we are all potentially breathing this in and causing serious issues, particularly for people with asthma and other lung conditions, heart conditions and stroke sufferers.”
“While poor air quality has negative effects on health, the opposite is also true. Improving air quality could benefit national health outcomes, reduce pressure on the NHS and prevent premature deaths. Research by the UK Health Forum and Imperial College London estimated that a 1 µg/m3 reduction in fine particulate matter could prevent 50,900 cases of coronary heart disease, 16,500 strokes, 9,300 cases of asthma and 4200 lung cancers over 18 years.”
“In the workplace, building owners and managers can reduce sources of pollution, take actions to mitigate pollution and filter the incoming air, whilst continuous monitoring can measure the effectiveness of these actions.
“With all the focus on indoor environmental air quality it is important that you select equipment that meets the accredited standards, it is appropriately placed and the data is continually monitored, so that decisions and actions can take place to make a positive change.
“Demand to determine the environmental quality of properties is omnipresent and exponentially increasing, but the historical means to supply this demand has been expensive and inflexible. With the rapid development of cloud computing, the growth of products serving the Internet of Things (ioT) marketplace, the adoption of open source LoRa bandwidth and the roll out of 5G GSM network, the ability to meet the demand with affordable, flexible, and portable equipment and systems is now upon us.
“Envirotech Facilities Management, as an early adopter of IoT products, has worked in partnership Tandem Property Asset Management to roll out wellSPACE, its affordable, flexible, and portable environmental quality measurement and analytic tools, within Tandem managed properties. The Mains Sensor, with up to six individual sensors / channels is designed for indoors environmental monitoring and measures sound pressure level, temperature, humidity, illuminance, PM2.5, CO, CO2, and TVOC concentrations. Sensors measuring CO and CO2 concentrations are pre-calibrated at the production stage and do not react to other gases in the environment.”
Managed Service Requirements
As part of our managed solution, Envirotech provides a live dashboard of all readings displayed in a user-friendly manner. This can be project via the web onto the reception display unit. Client access is provided by Envirotech’s service desk and a simple monthly overview report of the data accumulated from the site will be presented, along with a list of actions to improve the indoor conditions.
simPRO IoT combines hardware, software, and data within one single, seamlessly integrated platform, providing automated sensor solutions ordinarily requiring extensive manual effort and significant cost. The solution is ideally suited for enabling low cost, low power, plug and play sensors.
simPRO uses a Low Powered Wide Area Network (LPWAN) standard called Lora WAN. This uses sub GhZ Radio Frequency for communication between Sensors and Gateways on a site and is very robust and can penetrate plant room walls and reach long distances. Sensors are low powered and have been known to communicate with Gateways km’s away.
The units ideally should be fitted to a wall height of around 1500mm off the ground, so around chest to head height. While the units can simply be plugged into any plug socket, this runs the risk of being switched off and/or tampered with, or simply in the wrong location.
Measurements are taken at intervals of no longer than 10 minutes for particulate matter and carbon dioxide and no longer than one hour for other pollutants. This can be increased to every 5 minutes or 1 minute.
Confidential City office Location
Envirotech has deployed live monitoring to client sites in the heart of London, which has clearly demonstrated the need for additional air purification and an increase in fresh air operating strategy. Being a standalone independent live monitoring system, the findings were relayed to the incumbent maintenance company, who altered the BMS operating strategy to increase fresh air into the space. However, this does not deal with the contamination levels, so with the client we specified standalone purification units to be installed into their space.
Jeff Smith concluded: “Although it is still early days for wellSPACE, the research regarding the impact on health and wellbeing regarding the negative impact of airborne particulates clearly demonstrates the urgent requirement to firstly monitor and then take action upon improving Indoor Air Quality.
“It should be noted that generic or standard commercial ventilation systems are not designed with air quality in mind and their adaptation will, at best, only deal with part of why buildings suffer from poor Indoor Air Quality. We have already deployed wellSPACE within City of London main road facing building receptions alongside a suitably sized UVc portable air purifier and we are deploying in the very near future on an additional six sites.”
To learn about Clean Air Day visit https://www.actionforcleanair.org.uk/campaigns/clean-air-day and for details on wellSPACE please visit https://www.envirotechltd.co.uk/wellspace-live