Air Quality Monitoring in the Age of COVID-19
Jakub Stach posted on October 14, 2020 |
New partnership uses LoRaWAN for air quality monitoring solutions.
Indoor monitoring solution helps minimize spread of infection. (Stock image.)
Indoor monitoring solution helps minimize spread of infection. (Stock image.)

Time and time again, epidemiologists and public health experts have urged our elected officials and the general public to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing measures and increased indoor air-quality standards have been highlighted as necessary procedures for any organization that hopes to resume in-person activities. 

eleven-x, a company specializing in IoT solutions, and Pinchin, a consulting firm specializing in building science and environmental health and safety, have come together for this purpose. The collaboration will see eleven-x’s LoRaWAN solutions combined with Pinchin’s particulate monitors to help address indoor airborne transmission by managing ventilation rates, relative humidity levels, and providing analytics and reports for staff, tenants, and other stakeholders.

eleven-x’s sensors are battery operated (with batteries lasting up to a decade before the need for replacement) and communicate using the LoRaWAN protocol. LoRaWAN has the benefit of going into sleep mode when it is not operating to optimize its battery and operational lifetime. One drawback of LoRaWAN is the limit on the data size that it can transmit, but Pinchin’s sensors communicate data that is 10 bytes or less. 

“Real-time monitoring of spaces and environments is now more important than ever before, and we are excited to be able to help by providing solutions that will have a positive impact,” said Jeff Grossi, Pinchin’s chief executive officer. “This collaboration of our indoor environment monitoring solutions along with eleven-x’s wireless technology expertise is not only very complimentary but also very timely in that it offers a lot of opportunities moving forward.”

The offering includes wireless, real-time monitoring of carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, as well as the temperature and humidity in indoor environments. While there is no way to detect the new coronavirus directly in the air, managing the various indoor air-quality factors that contribute to the spread and growth of COVID-19 is the next best thing when it comes to prevention measures. 

Monitoring CO2 allows organizations to actively measure how well an area is ventilated given its current occupancy, and high levels of CO2 concentrations are indicative of poor ventilation and possibly overcrowding, according to the American Association of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). With increased CO2 levels comes an increased possibility of more viral particles in shared spaces. ASHRAE’s guidelines and resources indicate that the optimal indoor relative air humidity rests between 40 and 60 percent and that anything outside of these levels makes it easier for the tissues of our lungs to pick up any viruses. 

While indoor air quality-monitoring tests are typically done in-person every year at most or upon request, the new air-quality measuring technology will ensure that organizations are doing everything in their power to help slow and stop the spread of COVID-19 in indoor spaces.

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