Published on 01/07/2021
Beyond the rush to reopen buildings safely, improving indoor air quality (IAQ) is a long term priority concern. This question is drawing increased attention of tenants and facilities managers, but also of their occupants. Ecomesure recently unveiled the new generation of its connected indoor air quality monitors: EcomZen 2 and EcomLite 2. This release is the opportunity to revisit transformations and behavioral changes that brought indoor air quality into the spotlight since the company designed its first IoT models in 2015.
It’s fair to say that tenants have been kept busy preparing for reopening since restrictions have been progressively lifting. The pandemic brought indoor air quality monitoring upfront, especially since scientific evidence has been made that poor quality of the air we breathe inside increases the risk of Covid-19 infection.
As countries across the world relax lockdown and confinement measures, protocols and guidelines have flourished to ensure a safe and gradual reopening. Professionals from all industries have multiplied preventive measures during the crisis, including the use of face masks, sanitizers and plexiglass partitions. Despite all this, the lack of proper ventilation remains a weak point to reduce indoor airborne transmission.
This title was running the headline of Fast Company in May 20211. According to the media, a group of researchers has been working on airborne transmission of Covid-19 and calls for “mandating monitors of indoor air quality, for instance by outfitting public spaces with CO2 sensors that display how much exhaled air is accumulating in space.” To reduce the risk of airborne transmission inside, the CO2 concentration should be below 800 ppm, the relative humidity level between 40% to 60% and the room temperature between 22 and 24°C / 71 to 75° F.
Most of the time, sensors do not only track CO2 levels, they also measure air pollutants concentrations (Particulate matter, Volatile Organic Compounds, Nitrogen dioxide, Carbon Monoxide) and meteorological parameters (air temperature, air pressure and humidity). The most advanced solutions also alert in case of changes in air quality levels and inform also about ambient light and noise. Monitoring these parameters makes it easy to know when to take necessary filtering and ventilation measures in order to reach a correct air renewal. Going beyond tracking CO2 concentration levels is even more important as the use of cleaning products, which contain toxic or hazardous chemical pollutants, has increased during the pandemic.
These types of preventive actions will likely become commonplace as they have proven their effectiveness in limiting the propagation of the virus and preventing future pandemics from happening. They will also spread out because the sanitary crisis has changed the way people look at air quality: what was then recognized as one of many public health problems is now a priority concern for citizens worldwide.
Until recently, this topic has been rather exclusive to scientists and EHS (Environment, Health & Safety) professionals. It’s now a matter of interest for a much wider audience.
The importance of workplace safety and wellness is nothing new to Human Resources and Facility Managers. Beyond immediate return to work considerations, the workplace is transforming for good, and offering high indoor air quality standards is becoming a must.
While we spend 90% of our time inside2, studies indicate that indoor comfort is a growing concern: it now tops the list of what employees and candidates want most from their workspaces3. In the United States, this translates into an increasing number of employees who file workers’ compensation claims or sue builders for IAQ-related illness.
Inaction has a high cost: almost 50% of all illnesses are actually caused or aggravated by poor indoor air quality4. On the contrary, and taking measures to drive clean air can actually lead to productivity improvements of up to 11%5.
Air quality is also a prerequisite to meet the new sustainability and energy efficiency standards in constructions, as certification programs such as HQE, LEED or BREEAM flourish. Technology, and in particular the Internet of Things (IoT), is being increasingly utilized by building owners in order to meet the requirements of smart buildings and ensure compliance with indoor air quality guidelines (IAQ recommendations from the US EPA or WHO guidelines for indoor air quality for instance).
Whether you are welcoming workers, students or the general public, it all comes down to the ability to control the environmental quality within spaces, guarantee public health & safety, and offer maximum comfort to your occupants. Businesses now value air quality: it finds its place in sustainability reports, wellness programs and recruitment processes.
Airports, hotels, restaurants, but also schools, nurseries, hospitals and retirement homes are going the same way: communicating around IAQ is a way to reassure beneficiaries and promote safety and environmental management commitments.
Technology providers didn’t wait for the pandemic to innovate around indoor air quality. The latest IoT, artificial intelligence and connectivity developments have enabled a new generation of sensors to monitor environmental quality of indoor spaces. More compact, more accurate, more powerful: these monitoring stations - such as Ecomesure’s EcomZen 2 and Ecomlite 2 - fit the needs of all professionals involved in managing IAQ.
EcomZen 2 and EcomLite 2 are currently being deployed at Boston’s city schools, nurseries and in several Corporate workspaces. These public and private institutions are leading the way, as being equipped with IAQ sensors is on its way to become the norm. Will you join them?
To learn how Ecomesure can help you monitor and improve indoor air quality, reach out to our experts.
1 Before the next pandemic, it’s time to regulate indoor air quality - https://www.fastcompany.com/90636054/before-the-next-pandemic-its-time-to-regulate-indoor-air-quality
2 We spend 90% of our time inside—why don’t we care that indoor air is so polluted? - https://www.fastcompany.com/90506856/we-spend-90-of-our-time-inside-why-dont-we-care-that-indoor-air-is-so-polluted
3 Survey: What Employees Want Most from Their Workspaces - https://hbr.org/2019/08/survey-what-employees-want-most-from-their-workspaces
5 Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices: The Next Chapter for Green Building - https://www.worldgbc.org/news-media/health-wellbeing-and-productivity-offices-next-chapter-green-building