• Data driven solution from ebm-papst
    Data driven solution from ebm-papst

It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher managing heating and cooling for students in a classroom or a HVAC professional managing a complex commercial building, the importance of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is the same.

It impacts student/tenant comfort, productivity, workplace performance and the risks associated with viral transmission of airborne viruses.

Whether you’re a HVAC professional or teacher, most users are flying blind even though IAQ is crucial for the health and productivity of people living and working in these spaces.

A study by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that people’s productivity decreases by 19 per cent when the CO2 content in the air increases by 400 ppm.

Gases, spores, tiny particles, or hazardous germs or viruses are also an invisible serious health hazard. The obvious example these days is the SARS-CoV-2 virus that spreads via aerosols.

An easy and popular measure to try and address the contaminants as well as the CO2, is to increase the fresh air supply. Another solution is to install an air purification system.

Introducing more fresh air can work to reduce the risk of viral infections, however, there are two major problems: Heating or cooling costs will increase, and the HVAC system might not be designed to take the additional load of 100 per cent outside air. The indoor climate as well as the equipment will suffer.

Air purifiers don’t mess with the indoor climate but are expensive and require ongoing maintenance. They also do not address the CO2 issue.

Returning to the teacher and the HVAC technician, they both have the best intentions, but they are probably over-ventilating.

A basic principle when improving energy efficiency in buildings is that you cannot improve what you don’t measure. Therefore, step one is implementation of a sensor-based monitoring system.

In its basic form it will tell the teacher or HVAC operator that fresh air is required, or it is safe again to close the window. This input can then be used to modify behaviours, adjust settings in existing HVAC systems, send a weekly report or help to decide whether a fresh air unit or an air purification system is required. Eventually, all of this can be automated.

The IAQ solution from ebm-papst uses data from sensors to help implement a multi-step approach, based on this principle.

Initially, Wi-Fi enabled sensors are installed and connected to a cloud-based tool that monitors indoor air quality and viral risk index. Connected users will receive regular reports.

Users can directly link their phone to the closest sensor and get instant notification and warnings as soon as air quality or risks are identified. 

In stage two, the IAQ monitoring system is linked to the existing or new HVAC and air purification systems.

For example, by switching on the air purifier in the classroom, or by increasing the outside air ratio in a large HVAC system as required. ebm-papst offers a range of hardware and software tools than can interface with existing controls systems or IoT devices making the installation fast and cost effective.

Lastly, the ebm-papst cloud is connected to most or all systems in the building, such as the building management system (BMS), access systems, lights and alarm system. Algorithms learn from user behaviour, building characteristics and environmental conditions, as well as data collected from thousands of existing buildings that are already connected, to help create an optimized eco-system for clean air in indoor spaces. This is all delivered as energy efficient as possible.

The IAQ solution from ebm-papst can cater for all these scenarios as a standalone, sensor-only-solution with a focus on real time notifications and frequent reports, or as part of a fully integrated building management system that monitors, controls, and optimizes all of your buildings services.


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