Posts

More than half (51 percent) of all elementary school in the Netherlands sent one or more classes home last week because of Covid 19.

“The AVS estimates that nearly 220,000 elementary school students were quarantined at home, out of a total of about 1.6 million students. According to the poll, 1.3 percent of elementary schools were forced to close completely because of corona attacks ” (Metro Nieuws)

Staffing shortage

Metro continues: “According to President Petra van Haren, the pressure is on school leaders. ‘They are constantly looking for substitutes to prevent children from having to go home,” she says. Of the school leaders who participated in the survey, 60 percent had to use substitutes last week. “Because of the staffing shortage, that’s not easy,’ Van Haren says.”

1 Child infected, whole class at home

If in a class a child or teacher is infected with the coronavirus, the entire class must go home. For at least five days as a precaution. Unless they work in small groups that are not close to each other. In most elementary schools, however, this does not happen. Many schools find it practically unworkable. Those who get tested five days after contact with the infected child and get a negative result may return to school. Children who do not test may return to school only after ten days, provided they have no symptoms.

How sensors help

Sensors like the Airmex help monitor air quality to ensure that the Covid 19 virus is as inactive as possible. And to ensure that temperature and humidity levels are optimal for a pleasant stay and an optimal environment for performance. They also measure CO2. CO2 is another important air quality parameter.

For many, Covid-19 was an eye-opener for the importance of indoor air quality. One of the most important pollutants indoors is Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Children spend a large portion of the day at school. Research shows that there are high levels of CO2 in many classrooms. Those high CO2 levels affect the sense of wellbeing, and even worse: school grades.

CO2 levels in school too high

The Western Cooling Efficiency Center (UC Davis ) shows: “Research from around the world shows there are high CO2 levels in many classrooms. For example, in a 2019 study, researchers found that about 85% of 94 recently installed HVAC systems in California K-12 classrooms did not provide adequate ventilation.”They investigated 104 classrooms in California. 85% did not have proper ventilation, which means increased levels of CO2.

In indoor testing between 2010 and 2015, 43% of Toronto schools had a CO2 concentration above 1000 ppm.

Why does the last hour always take ages?

bored child classroom school high co2 levels airmex

After sitting the whole day at school, the last hour seems to take ages. Always getting a headache. You can’t concentrate and think properly. Probably the cause it isn’t the teacher. It’s you, the students.

Students and the teacher breathe oxygen into the lungs as energy. The oxygen sticks to red blood cells and is transported to organs and muscles, so your heart can pump, you can think with your brain and contract your muscles. This ‘burning’ process of oxygen turns into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor, which are released back into the environment.

When the ventilation is poor, the ‘used’ air will not dilute enough with ‘new’, fresh air from outside. So, especially with many people in a closed room (like a class-room) and the ventilation is poor, the oxygen in this room gets more and more replaced by CO2.

CO2 itself is not toxic. In fact, it’s a natural part of the atmosphere. It’s the fact that it’s replacing the oxygen concentration because a high concentration of CO2 is toxic. (That’s why CO2 is called an ‘asphyxiant gas’:  a nontoxic or minimally toxic gas which reduces or displaces the normal oxygen concentration in breathable air.)

How CO2 levels affect school results

Due to the fact that the student inhales less oxygen, less oxygen goes to the brains. If there’s too much CO2, students may find it hard to pay attention to the teacher. Or concentrate on tests. Or stay awake at all. Besides, high levels of CO2 may affect the ability to make decisions. So, without even realizing yourself, high CO2 can damage your productivity and your school results. Besides, when we think of gasses, we think smell will warn us. However, CO2 is odourless.

CO2 might also cause physically complaints:

  • Headache
  • Feeling dizzy or nauseous
  • Tired
  • Trouble breathing
  • Worsen asthma symptoms, allergies and lung health

You yourself might feel complaints, while the student next to you doesn’t feel anything. How you react, depends on several factors – such as: your own health, heredity, personal habits as smoking and drinking, use of medicine, previous exposure to chemicals.

What are high CO2 Levels?

As said, CO2 is a gas that is a natural part of the air. CO2 is measured in so-called parts per million (ppm). Outside, the normal level is about 400ppm. Otherwise said: per 1 million parts in the air, 400 of them consists of carbon dioxide. Before the industrial revolution, this level was about 280 ppm.

In general, occupied rooms with good ventilation have 400 – 1,000ppm. However, from 800 ppm, people may begin to suffer, maybe without knowing themselves.

From 1,000 to 2,000 ppm, people get complaints of drowsiness and poor air. When the level is between 2,000 to 5,000 ppm: complaints of headaches and sleepiness. The air becomes stale, stagnant and stuffy. As a consequence, people have lower concentration and loss of attention. An increased heart rate and slight nausea may also be the case.

From more than 5,000 ppm, the air becomes toxic and more serious effects can occur.


Common HVAC Issues resulting in high CO2 levels

In modern times, schools and other buildings are built with comfort in mind: to create a comfortable, warm space, thanks to isolation and… However, this comfort may come with a downside. Because a room is too closed from the outside world, this may result in the lack of replacing the air inside with fresh air from outside.

In the California study, 85% of the classrooms did not provide adequate ventilation. ‘“We were shocked,” said Wanyu Rengie Chan, one of the lead researchers of the study, “We were not expecting it.”’ They were shocked, because it involved classrooms with newly installed HVAC.

What are HVAC issues, causing high CO2 levels?

  • Problems with installation of HVAC systems
  • Incorrect HVAC systems purchased
  • Incorrect controls and thermostats
  • No follow-up testing after installation
  • Poorly-maintained filters

(Source: Ventilation Rates in California Classrooms study)

CO2 monitoring helps

Children spend many hours indoors at school. Therefore, it is important to have a good indoor air quality. For the feeling of well-being for the children and teacher, but also for the children’s grades. You can measure the CO2 with a CO2 meter, or a sensor which combines the monitoring of CO2 with temperature, humidity and Volatile Organic Compounds, for instance ASN’s Covid-AIRMEX.

Since Covid-19, there is even more attention for indoor air quality. It might be possible that poor ventilation may contribute to the spread of the coronavirus. In any case, some contaminations are already known to decrease indoor air quality. Poor Humidity, Temperature, CO2 and TVOC conditions may be the cause. It influences productivity, leads to less sense of comfortability and well-being and can cause sickness. Beat poor indoor Air Quality with data science.

Indoor concentration of pollution often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor

Did you ever wonder where you are most exposed to air pollution? Somewhere outside, you say? Wrong, you breath the most polluted air… indoors! Research shows, that people spend 90% of their time indoors. Isolation and modern heating have brought us comfy, warm indoor environments: home, work, recreation, etc., with no cold air coming from under the doors or through windows. However, in many buildings there is a downside. With the tightly enclosed indoor environments, pollution caused indoors or coming from outside has no opportunity to mingle with fresh air. For viruses, heat and certain levels of humidity are perfect environments to stay active.

Pollution may lead to:

  • Irritation of the throat, nose and eyes, such as a dry throat
  • Headaches, dizziness, and fatigue
  • Respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer

Covid-19

Besides, the Covid-19 virus is spreading. Since Covid-19, there is a lot of attention for indoor door quality. Besides social distancing, wearing a mask and washing your hands, good ventilation is one of the measures to reduce the risk of infection indoors.

CO2 and TVOC measurement for well-being and productivity

Indoor air quality is depending on… inside and outside factors… Besides temperature and humidity, 2 other factors for indoor air quality are CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and TVOC (Total Volatile Organic Compounds).

CO2 originates when people breathe, sweat and in all other occasions where there is a burning process involved. CO2 concentration has to remains less than 800 PPM. At higher concentrations people begin to suffer.

Besides, many substances are also source of contamination like cleaning products, paints, varnishes, furniture and glues. These are called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s). Immediate complaints may be symptoms headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation and bad odors. Long term exposure may lead in large doses can damage liver, nervous systems and kidneys.

The impaction of the combination of CO2 and TVOC is even larger. A study shows: “On average, cognitive scores were 61% higher on the Green building day and 101% higher on the two Green+ building days than on the Conventional building day.” 

Data Science helps you to maintain healthy and productive air quality

Temperature and Ventilation are more important than ever. Regulate your temperature to obtain a comfortable and healthy environment. Replace bad air with fresh air from outside. By ventilation or just by opening a window.

When you’re busy, keeping an eye on working conditions may be easily ignored. Sensors which measure temperature and humidity like the Airmex help you to maintain your indoor air quality such, that the risk of spreading the viruses is as least as possible They also help you to keep a comfortable, healthy and productive environment. It warns you on an app when you should adjust your room temperature or when you should ventilate. Those signals are based on data science and based on guidelines as the ASHRAE Standard 55 – Thermal Environmental conditions for Human Occupancy.

Find out how the Airmex can help you.

Did you ever wonder where you are most exposed to air pollution? Somewhere outside, you say? Wrong, you breath the most polluted air… indoors! Research shows, that people spend 90% of their time indoors. Isolation and modern heating have brought us comfy, warm indoor environments: home, work, recreation, etc., with no cold air coming from under the doors. However, in many buildings there is a downside. With the tightly enclosed indoor environments, pollution caused indoors or coming from outside has no opportunity to mingle with fresh air. For viruses, heat and certain levels of immunity are perfect environments to stay active. Besides, the Covid-19 virus is spreading.

Indoor concentration of pollution often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor

Research on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) site shows:

  • “Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors,1 where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.2
  • People who are often most susceptible to the adverse effects of pollution (e.g., the very young, older adults, people with cardiovascular or respiratory disease) tend to spend even more time indoors.3
  • Indoor concentrations of some pollutants have increased in recent decades due to such factors as energy-efficient building construction (when it lacks sufficient mechanical ventilation to ensure adequate air exchange) and increased use of synthetic building materials, furnishings, personal care products, pesticides, and household cleaners.”

Why is air quality important?

You probably know the irritation of eyes or a dry troath yourself. Indoor air pollution can have serious health effects, ranging from irritation of your eyes to respiratory diseases:

  • Irritation of the throat, nose and eyes, such as a dry throat
  • Headaches, dizziness, and fatigue
  • Respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer

Indoor concentration of pollution often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor

“The link between some common indoor air pollutants (e.g., radon, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, Legionella bacterium) and health effects is very well established.

  • Radon is a known human carcinogen and is the second leading cause of lung cancer.4, 5
  • Carbon monoxide is toxic, and short-term exposure to elevated carbon monoxide levels in indoor settings can be lethal.6
  • Episodes of Legionnaires’ disease, a form of pneumonia caused by exposure to the Legionella bacterium, have been associated with buildings with poorly maintained air conditioning or heating systems.7, 8
  • Numerous indoor air pollutants—dust mites, mold, pet dander, environmental tobacco smoke, cockroach allergens, particulate matter, and others—are “asthma triggers,” meaning that some asthmatics might experience asthma attacks following exposure.9

While adverse health effects have been attributed to some specific pollutants, the scientific understanding of some indoor air quality issues continues to evolve. …

One example is “sick building syndrome,” which occurs when building occupants experience similar symptoms after entering a particular building, with symptoms diminishing or disappearing after they leave the building. These symptoms are increasingly being attributed to a variety of building indoor air attributes.

Researchers also have been investigating the relationship between indoor air quality and important issues not traditionally thought of as related to health, such as student performance in the classroom and productivity in occupational settings.10

Solutions like the Covid Airmex can help you to monitor your temperature, humidity, tvoc and co2, for a safe and healthy working environment

High levels of CO2 at office or home may evoke nuisance, fatigue, headaches and dizziness. It lessens your productivity and general feeling of well-being.