January 5, 2022
Crowded classrooms, meetings in closed door conference rooms, working from your makeshift WFH office with poor ventilation - all of these scenarios can cause high CO2 and significant decreases in cognition and productivity.
What is carbon dioxide?
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas that is measured in parts per million (ppm). A by-product of our metabolic process – we add CO2 into the air every time we exhale – it’s often used as an indicator of adequate building ventilation.
We expect CO2 levels of 350 to 1,000 ppm in well ventilated indoor spaces. CO2 levels of 1,000 to 2,000 ppm are associated with complaints of drowsiness and poor air. While levels of 2,000 to 5,000 are associated with headaches, poor concentration, and loss of attention.
Why measure CO2?
When lots of people are in a small space, the CO2 being produced becomes more concentrated. Most modern buildings are designed to be airtight (to improve energy efficiency), which means that natural airflow is limited, and proper ventilation is key. With inadequate ventilation, CO2 concentrations can increase to around 2,500 ppm — about five times higher than what’s considered healthy. In some schools, researchers have recorded CO2 levels upwards of 5,000 ppm.
Crowded spaces lead to clouded thinking
Increased levels of CO2 can lead to poor decision making, slower reaction times and increased tiredness among employees. One study showed that employees worked 60% faster with lower levels of CO2 and their test scores improved by up to 12%.
CO2 contributes to Sick Building Syndrome
Spaces that are not well ventilated can cause a variety of symptoms — often called sick building syndrome (SBS) — such as headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. SBS has been known to decrease employee productivity and lead to higher absentee rates.
Know what’s in the air you’re breathing
One of the easiest ways to track changes in CO2 levels is with Awair Omni. In addition to providing real-time insight into your air quality, tracking indoor pollution will help you monitor the performance of your ventilation system and what behaviors are impacting your health and productivity.
The holidays are filled with lots of fun activities from shopping in well-decorated stores to attending corporate parties. With increased awareness on staying safe while indoors, we want to help reduce your exposure to airborne infections and pollutants. We realize there may be work events that you want to attend or people that you need to shop for, but there are a few simple ways to improve your indoor air quality (IAQ) so you can celebrate accordingly.
Getting your family ready for the new school year can be bittersweet, and as you drop your child off for their first day of school, it’s easy to feel anxious about whether or not you’ve prepared them for success in the upcoming year. Even if you were able to get them everything on their back-to-school shopping list, you know your child’s ability to learn and grow depends on what happens once they enter the classroom--but what if it turned out their classroom was hindering their productivity and overall health?Unhealthy classrooms are much more common than we realize, and one of the main culprits is hiding in plain sight: the quality of air children are breathing in their classrooms. Many of us take for granted that the air we’re breathing is healthy and safe since it’s not something we can typically see–but this isn’t the case, especially for air that’s indoors. In fact, indoor air can be 5x more polluted than outdoors, which can affect allergies, asthma, our ability to concentrate, the quality of our sleep, and more. Particularly “unhealthy” or “bad” air can even cause a variety of health problems, including dry skin and eyes, coughing and sneezing, headaches, hives, and nausea.
If you spend the majority of your week at work, you deserve to know whether or not your workplace could be affecting your health. Unfortunately, an important factor that affects your overall health at work is present in every office--and is often overlooked: your office air quality.