November 16, 2021
After several months of offices reopening and schools underway, we are seeing a shift towards indoor air quality monitoring. Facility managers want their buildings to be greener and smarter. Employers, similarly, want their workers to feel safe and comfortable. With a strong emphasis being placed on stopping the COVID-19 spread, it’s no wonder that companies are paying closer attention to ventilation and how this process relates to worker health.
While carbon dioxide (CO2) is correlated with a negative impact on performance, it’s now increasingly tied to health and well-being. There have been recent studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which reveal carbon dioxide levels having a strong connection with the airborne spread of infection. For this reason, adequate indoor ventilation becomes increasingly important because CO2 is released when people exhale. Fresh air supply from the outdoors cuts back on the chance of spreading lingering viruses.
Aside from CO2, there are a lot of other factors at play in the health of our air. Without a doubt, COVID-19 has made people aware of CO2, but PM2.5 (fine dust) can also have a detrimental impact on occupant comfort. Fine dust can trigger allergy and asthma attacks, as well as eczema flare-ups. Since PM2.5 can stay suspended in the air for longer periods of time, it can cause more severe health effects long term, including chronic respiratory problems.
TVOCs (total volatile organic compounds) are naturally occurring in cleaners and manufactured goods. Moderate exposure can cause headaches, fatigue, and other symptoms that can impact concentration. Higher concentrations have been associated with more severe consequences, such as cognitive impairment, overworked liver and kidneys, and even cancer.
Tracking noise and light levels can also create healthier, more productive spaces. Noise, for instance, can have a negative effect on tasks requiring reading comprehension and can lead to decreased job satisfaction, according to a study by Cornell University. As another air quality factor, light can affect circadian rhythms which governs sleep and wakefulness.
At Awair, we’re thrilled to see others’ sharing our understanding and excitement about measuring indoor air quality. If CO2 led you to think about IAQ, remember that indoor spaces need to measure several air factors, including humidity, temperature, PM2.5, TVOCs, Noise, and Light. Learn more about Awair’s air quality monitoring solutions for Businesses and Schools.
The smells we associate with newness and cleanliness — a fresh coat of paint, a new carpet, lemon-scented disinfectant — are not as harmless as they may seem. These odors are caused by the release of gases called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in many common building materials and household products.
To better understand the impact unhealthy outdoor air quality has on indoor environments, Awair aggregated data from its indoor air quality (IAQ) monitors during the smoked-filled air days due to fires along the West Coast of the United States.