The one thing we have seen due to the ongoing global pandemic is a heightened interest in smart buildings and technology adoption. Building occupants want to know their indoor environments are healthy. In preparation for the workforce re-entering commercial buildings, building owners and operators are being asked to demonstrate their buildings are healthy.
To confidently state that a building is healthy, they must measure their Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) using suitable metrics. This confidence can be strengthened by transparently sharing that data with the building occupants. At a minimum, the following metrics should be measured to determine IAQ:
• CO2 – Carbon dioxide
• VOC – Airborne chemicals
• PM2.5 – Fine particulates such as dust and smoke
Combining IAQ sensors with a data-driven approach is incredibly powerful. It allows building owners and managers to measure, verify and communicate the health of their buildings to occupants. Building owners can adopt Airsset Technologies’ IAQ metrics to their buildings to establish how safe they are for occupancy and adjust their policies to improve their IAQ. Where buildings under perform, Airsset Technologies provide expert HVAC and control solutions. For example, these solutions include adjusting ventilation, filtration, or humidity. Airsset Technologies offer data visualization through a customised dashboard. The dashboard can be used for both internal and external reporting on the health of a building.
Digitizing a building for IAQ
The first steps toward digitizing a building and continuously monitor IAQ is to establish which existing measuring devices are connected to the building network, which are mis-calibrated and which are running with outdated firmware. Your facility should recalibrate and re-commission relevant devices and update their firmware.
Presently, building systems typically only measure temperature, humidity and in some cases CO2. Airsset captures the required metrics to accurately determine the air quality within a building. Airsset is device agnostic; it is compatible with most existing sensors. Additional IAQ measuring devices can be provided to measure a range of additional parameters such as PM2.5 and VOC levels in a building with a specific aim of supporting building health.
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) offers some useful guidelines for building owners and operators who are looking to reopen their buildings. These guidelines are a good starting point and are worthwhile but are limited in their potential effectiveness. The addition of IAQ monitoring greatly increases the ability to ensure a building is indeed healthy before and during occupancy. The guidelines from ASHRAE include:
• Flushing of buildings’ HVAC systems before and after occupancy begins
• Maintaining humidity between 40-60%
• Disinfecting building systems
• Ensuring occupancy limits are not exceeded
Once you have confirmed the integrity of your building IAQ monitoring capability, you will have a strong foundation for a healthy building program. From here, owners and tenants can strategically undertake Airsset’s recommendations to improve the air quality of your buildings. Airsset’s dashboards allow you view and verify your air quality in one single source and to continually measure and benchmark how your building’s IAQ is performing. From here, you will be able to easily communicate this to occupants by displaying Airsset’s customised dashboards throughout the building at strategic locations.