People spend approximately 90 per cent of their time indoors and breathe 12,000 litres of air per day.
It is therefore important to understand the powerful influence that indoor air quality has on our well-being, especially during this extraordinary time of the coronavirus pandemic.
While the impact of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on humans has been widely discussed within the context of the 'sick building syndrome', the role dry air plays in the spreading of microbes, including viruses, is often neglected.
High performing HVAC systems and proper humidification strategies are required to maintain a stable and healthy indoor air quality in buildings.
One way for viruses to spread, is within small water droplets. The higher the air humidity, the larger the droplets become, which stops them from travelling as far. Small droplets, on the other hand, can travel through large open office spaces and survive for hours – infecting more people.
In temperate climates, the humidity of air often drops to a relative humidity of below 40 per cent during the colder months. However, the 'sweet spot' for indoor air humidity is 40-60 per cent, as this dramatically reduces the risk of disease transmission, and enables the body to better repair and protect itself.
Central air handling units (AHUs) and air distribution systems, are able to provide fresh, filtered and conditioned air to the zones of a building rather than recirculating used air inside a room.
Temperature and humidity sensors permanently measure the thermal conditions of the supplied air and deviations are instantly detected and corrected.
Room sensors, which could permanently measure all parameters around us such as temperature, humidity, CO2 and the presence of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), are essential for our health and well-being.
An increase in the CO2 or VOC concentration in the room, for example through the presence of many people in the room or a photocopy machine creating extra emissions, will instantly be detected and the air damper of the air duct in the room can be opened to provide more fresh air into the respective room. This will instantly bring the comfort level back to a healthy level.
You can only control what you can measure. This also applies for indoor air quality. Sensors amount to only 0.08% of the total HVAC investment in a building. The cost of using reliable and accurate sensors are quickly compensated by improved health and productivity of the occupants.
Furthermore, proper commissioning and maintenance is an important step to assure long-term stable, accurate measurement and control.
Reliable and high-quality sensors are the foundation of the HVAC system to provide a healthy, productive and comfortable environment. Many sensors on the market are known to drift over time. Belimo's humidity sensors with Polymer Capacitive Sensing element are not affected by high humidity and contaminants.
They are two per cent accurate as standard and have a long-term drift of only <±0.25%. High accuracy and long-term stability are the prerequisite for ensuring the optimum air quality levels.
Belimo supplies a complete range of sensors. The new Belimo room sensors ensure a user-friendly experience with easy installation and timeless design. In addition, Belimo Assistant App allows fast commissioning and diagnostics easily, via a smartphone.