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4 August 2022

How IoT Solutions are Changing Indoor Air Quality for the Better

Author: Jeremy Chuang

As a former engineer, Jeremy knows that many people do not understand how the beautiful minds of geeks are functioning. So he jumped to the marketing side and became the medium to help ordinary people understand the beauty of technology. Outside the office, he loves playing video games with his family, sipping wine with his wife, or answering his son’s non-stop questions like Wikipedia.

Air pollution is one of the largest health problems in the UK. It is the fourth biggest killer after cancer, obesity and heart disease. Estimates from Public Health England (PHE) show the health impacts from air pollution are likely to result in between 24,000 and 36,000 deaths every year, costing UK taxpayers between £8 billion and £20 billion.

COVID transmission risk in 2 scenariosCOVID transmission risk in 2 scenarios

On average, people spend almost 90% of their time indoors, where the concentration of indoor pollutants is often two to five times higher than typical outdoor environments. In today’s post-pandemic world, indoor air quality is becoming more important. The past few years have made us more aware of how dangerous transmission through aerosol particles can be. Just consider what happened with the spread of COVID-19 in workspaces. These particles do not settle due to gravity. If there is a high amount of exhaled CO2 in an indoor environment, there are also a high number of aerosols. Research indicates that poorly, or non-ventilated indoor spaces, can increase the chance of COVID-19 aerosol transmission.

In June 2021, the UK government published the update to The Building Regulations 2010. This approved document took effect on 15 June 2022. As a result, indoor air quality (IAQ) thresholds such as PM2.5 and TVOC have now been defined for the UK and need to be addressed by building owners, property managers and tenants. In response, The Building Engineering Service Association (BESA) also published a guide to complying with the new regulation and is developing new ventilation principles for buildings.

simPRO IoT (Internet of things), alongside specialist partner services, can offer a solution to help combat indoor air pollutants and reduce transmission risks.

How simPRO Helps Combat Indoor Air Pollutants and Reduces Transmission Risks

As an early adopter of IoT solutions, UK-based Envirotech Facilities Management has worked in partnership with its client Tandem Property Asset Management to roll out wellSPACE. The offering combines affordable, flexible and portable environmental quality measurement and analytics tools, together with professional insights, strategies and solutions to overcome IAQ abnormalities within clients' managed properties. The backbone of wellSPACE is simPRO IoT technology.

simPRO IoT Dashboard“Demand to determine the environmental quality and risks to building residents who have experienced exposure to poor quality air is omnipresent and exponentially increasing, however the historical means to supply this demand has been expensive and inflexible,” said Jeff Smith, director of Digital Technology at Envirotech. “With the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has accelerated the demand for ways of measuring the effectiveness of the indoor air quality, and with the recent publication of the UK government IAQ thresholds, the demand will continue to meet these requirements.”

Smith leads the partnership initiative and helps building owners and managers provide a COVID-free indoor environment. He knows the importance of IoT as the best solution for IAQ management, but that it requires a specific software solution that has low power consumption sensors, isopen-source and can integrate with other systems via an open API.

“We were trying to not tell the customer what we could give them but actually adapt our business to give the customer what they wanted, and we chose simPRO because it enables us to give flexibility to our customers,” Smith said.

Smith also chose simPRO because of its openness. “simPRO is open to development, open to feedback, open to criticism and open to the user community,” Smith said. “And that’s very important to us because, in the end, we could give customers exactly what they want with simPRO IoT.”

simPRO IoT Helps with Air Pollutant Detection and Indoor Air Management

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 kilometers away.

With simPRO IoT, Envirotech was able to deploy live monitoring to clients' sites in London, UK. The comprehensive live dashboard demonstrated the urgent need for additional air purification and an increase in fresh air operating strategy.

“As part of our managed solution, we provide customers with a live dashboard of all readings displayed in a user-friendly manner, but the dashboards aren’t just graphs, we worked with simPRO to implement an executive dashboard which shows whether our customers are compliant or non-compliant at a glance,” Smith said. “This makes it really easy for property and building owners to use the solution and get the information they need.”

More Than an IAQ Monitoring

simPRO IoT sensors in different units

The pandemic gave the facility management industry a wake-up call, and this impact has been further enhanced by the UK government, which has now published official IAQ parameters. This demand has increased new technology adoption. simPRO IoT not only can help building managers monitor air quality but it can also monitor other environmental attributes. For instance, it can monitor water tank level, leakage, power consumption and more.

To find out how simPRO IoT can benefit you and your customers, please click here.

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