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How to measure air quality at workplaces

Published on 25 January, 2023

Smart Environment,

Breathing clean air is vital to ensure a good health. People spend approximately a 90% of their time in interior environments, that is why knowing how to measure air quality at workplaces is basic in order to guarantee a healthy indoor environment.

The way that buildings are designed and maintained, the constructive materials used as well as their ventilation systems affect the quality of the air inhaled.

It is because of this reason that in the latest times, the analysis of the air and its quality has acquired the importance as general health criteria in working environments.

Below you can find the key factors to guarantee the best air quality at workplaces.

How to measure air quality at workplaces? These are the 3 key factors.

Building owners and installation managers must acknowledge the 3 main factors that guarantee the best air quality and, therefore, the best environmental conditions for workers and general users.

However, how is air measured in? According to Spanish and European legislation, the microgram/cubic meter is the unit used to quantify air quality.

1. Ventilation Rate

Air ventilation in closed spaces determines, largely, the indoor air quality.

That is why is important to measure the air quality through Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels and other non visible but also health harming pollutants as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Particulate Matter (PM).

The lack of air can directly affect workers productivity, because in high levels it may cause headaches and somnolence. An inadequate ventilation may be due to several reasons:

  • High air recirculation or low supply air flow.
  • A bad distribution, which causes preassure differences in the different spaces of a building.
  • Incorrect filtration due to lack of system maintenance.
  • Inadequate air temperature and relative humidity.

2. Thermal comfort air

This concept makes reference to general comfort and wellbeing of the occupants in an inner place.

The main parameters monitored are temperature, humidity and air pressure. It is always good to be in the range of the accepted threshold by organizations such as the Safety and Health National Institute (INSST) or the Building’s thermal installation regulation.

While the first one determines good thermal practices through temperature, the second one stablishes the values supported by the National regulations on Occupational Risk Prevention (ORP).

Despite there are some fluctuations between them, the most important is to keep values among the following rate:

  • Summer temperature between 23ºC and 25ºC (air conditioning season).
  • Winter temperature between 21ºC and 23ºC (heating season).
  • Relative humidity between 45-60% in summer and between 40-50% in winter.

3. Pathogens in air

In an indoor environment, pathogens, bacteria, microorganisms or chemicals can be accumulated. Infectious diseases are more easily transmitted in closed environments because the air volume in which microorganisms are diluted is lower and direct contact is greater.

Because of this reason is very important to monitor parameters such as VOCs or PM particulate matter (1, 2.5, 4 and 10) in order to prevent and reduce the risk of contagious of infectious illness at workplaces.

Which sensors measure the air quality? How to guarantee the best air quality at workplaces?

In order to measure air quality in work environments, the use of a sensor such as Nanoenvi IAQ is highly recommended.

This is a monitoring device that allows indoor air quality control and it is designed to guarantee maximum precision in the most demanding environments. That is why it incorporates calibrated sensors with a high level of reliability that monitor different parameters such as:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • Carbon monoxide (CO).
  • PM particles (1, 2.5, 4, 10).
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Relative humidity.
  • Temperature.
  • Atmospheric pressure.

Nanoenvi IAQ enables building owners and facility managers to make the best decisions for managing air quality. The data platform simplifies management by providing an overview of all devices installed in different locations.

And its integration with building BMS systems via the MQTT protocol enables action to be taken on HVAC equipment.

The dashboard also calculates the environmental risk index, which measures the safety of a given indoor location and the risk of prevalence and transmission of any virus that requires air and particulate matter present in the environment for transmission.

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