In-person teaching is being reintroduced in the UK this month. We’re looking at ways to monitor and improve air quality in schools (and other workplaces) in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve been told that meeting outdoors is far safer than being inside. We’re looking at ways to bring people back inside, while minimising the risk of contracting or spreading the virus.
Monitoring CO2 levels can give a good indication of ventilation in an indoor space. There is increasing evidence to suggest that CO2 levels correlate with the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The majority of carbon dioxide in an indoor environment comes from breathing. This is particularly true in a classroom situation; with little computer equipment and a large group of students.
Improving indoor air quality in schools can be as simple as creating an alert when CO2 levels rise above a critical amount (e.g. 1000 ppm). When an alert is triggered, the teacher can open a window or door, and allow fresh air to circulate.
We stock a range of LoRaWAN sensors that measure CO2, temperature and humidity. This can be a great place to start for monitoring indoor air quality in schools.
Further health benefits
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers had started to investigate the effects of indoor air quality on health. This is particularly important in schools, as children can develop conditions such as asthma through poor air quality.
To dive a bit deeper into factors affecting indoor air quality; we need to look a bit further than carbon dioxide. We can also look at VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and particulate matter (PM).
In a school environment, you’d expect to find VOCs in things like art and craft supplies, cleaning products and new carpets/vinyl flooring. Particulate matter is mostly from dust and smoke (including car exhaust fumes and cooking smoke). Ensuring adequate ventilation when children are exposed to VOCs or particulate matter is key to their long-term health.
Our indoor air quality sensors allow you to measure a wide range of different parameters. You can get a complete understanding of the air quality levels in your school or educational setting.
We also supply outdoor air quality sensors. These can give you an idea of other environmental pollutants such as ozone or NOx. These generally come from traffic or industrial sources, so would be more relevant to schools in urban areas.
A learning opportunity
Improved indoor air quality in schools is known to have positive health benefits for children. But why not build on your project by getting your students involved?
Our LoRaWAN sensors communicate with a centralised gateway. The information is then sent to an easy-to-use dashboard where you can access the data. Create a science project to monitor air quality in your classroom using real statistics. Invite them to make suggestions on how air quality could be improved.
We also offer proof of concept kits so you can quickly and easily get your project up and running. Create a custom proof of concept kit to include air quality sensors and get to grips with the technology on a small scale.
To find out more about how you could use technology to make your workplace safer, visit our COVID-19 solutions page. Alternatively, contact a member of our team for help and advice on your IoT project.