Story at a glance:
- Indoor air quality matters more than you may know, according to the experts at AirThings.
- Technology like View Plus can sit anywhere in a space and be accessible by app.
- Wave in front of the monitor and you’ll get a green, yellow, or red light to indicate your air quality.
“The air quality that’s inside—whether in schools, office buildings, or your home—has a massive impact on how you feel, your health, and your ability to concentrate,” says Lauren Pedersen, chief marketing officer at Airthings. “Small changes in air quality can have a massive impact.”
Pedersen is referring, in part, to recent research and a book called Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity, by the director of Harvard’s Healthy Buildings Program and Harvard Business School’s leading expert on urban resilience.
Airthings hopes to make buildings a little bit healthier with products like their View Plus, an easy-to-use indoor air quality monitor that tests for carbon dioxide, VOCs, humidity, virus risk, and more. Their team is particularly interested in the growing data around air quality and performance in schools. “We monitor so many classrooms around the world. You see people sitting with several thousand PPMs of CO2, which means their cognitive performance is lowered by 20, 30, or even 40%,” says Airthings CEO Øyvind Birkenes. “They’re drowsy. They’re tired. Awareness around that has increased.”
These are some of the benefits of using technology like View Plus to monitor indoor air quality.
1. Know what’s in the air.
Indoor air quality is especially important, the EPA says, as Americans, on average, spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often two to five times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.
For property managers, adding technology like Airthings allows them to view real-time and historical air quality data to manage multiple buildings in one place and identify any air quality issues and areas of improvement. Set up alerts, generate reports, and get tips based on your current air quality. You can also add a public dashboard display or QR codes so anyone in your building can check the air quality themselves.
2. Save energy.
Having a monitor like View Plus for business can help you reduce energy consumption and save money, as you optimize ventilation, heating and cooling, and light based on need instead of schedule. Balance the pressure difference in your building to avoid energy leakage. Airthings’ technology can also help facility managers and building owners remotely monitor and optimize their buildings, so they’re always in the know.
3. Be smarter.
Improved indoor environmental quality could boost decision-making scores by more than 100%, according to a study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. According to Airthings, reducing carbon dioxide levels in the typical office environment resulted in an improvement of up to 50% in cognitive skills for workers tested. And healthier staff could mean a more productive staff. A 2018 report by the World Green Building Council suggested a healthier work environment could cut sick leave by four days per year per employee.
4. Feel better.
Higher concentrations of carbon dioxide can also cause headaches, restlessness, drowsiness, poor sleep, snoring, and other problems. The EPA says health effects associated with indoor air pollutants include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; headaches, dizziness, and fatigue; and even respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer. The link between some common indoor air pollutants—like radon, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, and Legionella bacterium—and health effects is well established.
Ventilation—even opening windows or vents for five to 10 minutes several times a day—is an effective way to reduce airborne chemical concentrations. Choosing household products with low-VOC toxicity, buying natural cleaners, detergents, and even used furniture can also help lower the total airborne chemical levels indoors, according to Airthings.
5. Easy to scale up.
Airthings is a scalable solution that works for multiple buildings. You can seamlessly integrate this technology into your building management system, whether you have 1,000 or 1,000,000 square feet of space to manage. Airthings’ solutions can also be customized to fit any space and portfolio. The View Plus monitor is easy to use, as you simply wave your hand in front of the monitor for a visual indication of air quality levels. The red and yellow light indicate poor and fair levels, while the green light indicates healthy levels.