Over recent years, the link between indoor air quality and inhabitant health, well-being and productivity is becoming increasingly established through academic research and therefore accurately measuring air quality, and controlling the key parameters, is seen as a key step in improving our interaction with the buildings we occupy.
We record and monitor the indoor air quality of our head office in London using a Foobot air quality monitor.
The Foobot is a wireless device that monitors the local temperature and humidity along with levels of CO2 and pollutants and uses this data to calculate the overall quality of the surrounding air. The device connects to Wi-Fi and delivers the data in an easy-read format via its companion app - alerting you to detrimental changes to the air quality. The Foobot device can link with various other smart appliances (ventilation systems, air purifiers, Nest thermostat) to autonomously control the quality of the air you breathe.
We have also linked our Foobot's data to the tables below so you can see the live results:
The recommended temperature varies with the intended use of the space as well as the activities and respective conditions of the occupants using it. The World Health Organization's standard for warmth says 18°C (64°F) is suitable for healthy people who are appropriately dressed. For those with respiratory problems or allergies, they recommend a minimum of 16°C (60.8°C); and for the sick, disabled, very old or very young, a minimum of 20°C (68°F).
Humidity levels should be maintained between 30% and 50%. Low humidity can result in dryness and irritation of the skin as well as eyes, nose and throat whereas high humidity can promote microbial growth leading to respiratory problems and allergies. High humidity levels also increase off-gassing and will lead to an increase in emissions of various VOCs.
CO2 levels should be maintained below 800 ppm. CO2 levels increase as the number of occupants in the space increases and as the metabolic activity of those occupants increases, for instance during exercise. High levels of CO2 can lead to fatigue and a reduction in productivity.
|Volatile Organic Compounds
A variety of chemicals fall under the category VOCs. VOCs are gases emitted from certain solids and liquids with common sources being paints and coatings, building materials, cleaning supplies, glue used in furniture manufacture as well as various office equipment. The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises a maximum VOC level of 300ppb and steps to reduce VOC content in air include improved ventilation, particularly when using chemical cleaners and flushing through the air after renovation or decorating.
Particulate matter is the name given to a wide range of airborne particles varying in size between 0.005µm and 100µm in diameter. A particulate matter level of less than 25µg/m3 is considered optimal according to WHO. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter are known to trigger nausea, headaches, asthma, respiratory irritation and allergies. Sources of particulate matter include smoking, gas stoves, wood burners, cooking and mould which can release spores into the atmosphere. Exhaust fumes from vehicles are a major contributor.
|Global Index Value
This is a weighted value of the different pollutants measured by Foobot and provides an overall value for the quality of the air measured. A reading below 50% and the Foobot light remains blue to confirm that the air quality falls within allowable limits.
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