Integrating Indoor Air Quality and Building Management
The use of sensors to automate and regulate buildings outside of the UK is commonplace. As the UK makes greater investments into SMART buildings and cities, how do we utilise new spaces to make our lives healthier and more productive?
A trip to a local shopping centre, large office complex or a modern school will find you subjected to an environment influenced by Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and/or Building Management Systems (BMS). For many facilities, these require close control by managers, continuous running or are triggered by a thermostat with the temperature rise and fall. Accommodating some of the latest sensors available on the market and new operating processes, the options for running HVAC and Building Management Systems have grown, allowing for greater user interactivity and control.
The goal of adding environmental sensors to the HVAC and Building Management Systems has always been to make the systems more energy efficient, saving money for the facility and benefitting the environment. Using Airgloss ProSense: Indoor Air Quality sensor allows for another level of information to be used to help regulate the environment, by using key pollutant data such as, CO2, VOC’s, or an overall Indoor Air Quality score to react to fluctuations in the environment.
The sensors, developed by Airgloss have been validated by NASA and the European Space Agency. Often deployed in ‘Original Equipment Manufacturer’ solutions, the Airgloss ProSense sensors are calibrated using reference standard equipment to deliver high level data and can offer a life span of 10+ years, while sensor cartridges are replaced periodically. ProSense is compliant with the leading Green Building Initiatives including WELL, LEED and Fitwell, with integration documents available on request.
The data collected by the Airgloss ProSense is provided directly to the HVAC/BMS system in place to turn it on or off autonomously, in addition to being saved to the cloud for access via the app or web management platform.
The focus on healthier buildings has become an increasing concern for all employers and facilities managers. The information available using the Airgloss ProSense can be used as a tool by managers and occupants to increase productivity, concentration, and well-being. This is often achieved by understanding the air quality trends inside your building and mitigating them before occupants and staff begin to experience symptoms including, headaches, irritation of eyes/throat and lethargy.
Also available through the Airgloss Management Platform is an Air Quality Index, which provides a score based on all pollutants detected, indicating the level of ventilation in the room.
Controlling a HVAC system using an Indoor Air Quality monitor is a novel approach taken by very few sensor manufacturers, due to the effort involved to create a seamless solution. However, upon completion, the benefits to the end user can be invaluable. Taking advantage of the widely adopted BacNET protocol, the Airgloss ProSense can send live data to a HVAC system, helping to regulate the environment, increase energy efficiency, and ultimately contribute towards creating a healthier building.
Hospital Grade Air Purification for your Business
The global CV-19 pandemic has seen a sharp rise in the demand for technologies that can purify the air we breathe within the workplace, whilst providing an optimum level of treatment to the bacteria and viruses that may make us ill.
The widely recognised technologies that have helped to achieve this are high quality filters such as HEPA-13 and UVC light which denature any viruses and bacteria, rendering them inactive. The costs associated with these technologies and the availability of effective solutions has varied enormously. To upgrade or install these types of solutions into HVAC systems in our buildings, can be extremely costly and may take too long to be effective in the short term.
Another option is presented through ‘plug-and-play’, portable Air Purifiers, allowing the user to manoeuvre the compact unit to the optimum position for use. The major benefit of these models is the lack of installation cost and time, making them instantly accessible. Maintenance is also easier as most installed solutions are at height.
Key considerations for purchasing air purifiers are that they offer a correctly placed UVC solution that can denature bacteria and viruses, making them inactive, as well as top-quality filtration to remove any harmful particulate from the air. This process of denaturing can depend on the design of the instrument and level of UVC used, therefore, understanding the specifications of a unit is important before using one. Independent validation of the Air Purifier by an accredited laboratory is essential to ensure the product can be trusted to perform, especially as the benefits can be difficult to measure without sensitive laboratory equipment.
Leading the way in this field is the ‘Rensair’ Portable Indoor Air Purification System – a hospital grade air purifier currently being deployed by the NHS. Rensairs streamline design means its technology is available at a price accessible to business owners and building managers.
Comprising of both HEPA 13 filter and optimum UVC technology, the Rensair has been independently proven by multiple studies and renowned laboratories to remove coronavirus and other harmful airborne viruses with 99.98% effectiveness.
How does this fit with the new Government Legislation on the Green Building Revolution?
The new legislation was presented at the end of January ’21, detailing “Rigorous new targets for green building revolution“, which focuses on 3 main points. First, the setting of new energy efficiency standards for both existing and new homes and businesses, secondly, the increase of ventilation and indoor air quality monitoring and finally, the overheating of residential buildings.
Airgloss ProSense and Rensair products can directly help businesses strive towards achieving the new targets set out by the government to increase the energy efficiency of buildings through sensor integration and the identified need for healthier buildings and thermal comfort.
Using products such as Rensair and Airgloss ProSense aims to “reduce the risk of any potential infections being spread indoors”, highlighting the impact of the global pandemic on building management. Additionally, the use of these products aims to strive for healthier buildings in the future where the risk of any illnesses bought into the indoor environment are minimised to protect staff and visitors.
The new government legislation is an important milestone for energy efficiency inside domestic homes and commercial buildings, where the plans unveiled are regarded as “radical”, building towards being at net zero emissions by 2050. However, the introduction of Indoor Air Quality to governmental plans identifies the need for greater understanding of our indoor spaces, especially those with higher levels of interaction.
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