How healthy are the workplaces?
With the pandemic constantly drawing our attention to the health of our workplace, we’re more aware of the cleanliness of our surfaces, physical spacing of our workers and most importantly, the quality of the air that we breathe, than ever before.
Adroit, a company from New Zealand, recently started their collaboration with Libelium as a distributor so they took the opportunity to monitor air quality in their own offices with the Smart Environment Libelium solution. The results were shocking.
“We couldn’t work out why most of us were feeling tired in the afternoon, and the place felt so stuffy,” says Adroit founder Ulrich Frerk. “We didn’t really understand how serious it was. Levels of CO2 were getting up to around 1,600 parts per million in the afternoons, and one day, it peaked at 1660, which is very, very high. At that level it can definitely cause drowsiness and sleepiness, or potentially cause serious health effects as well!”
Adroit’s offices are a picture of modern tech business. A 1920s shoe factory converted into a clean white area, with high ceilings and polished concrete floor. It has plenty of space for the team to work in peace, collaborate in teams, or meet over the table tennis table. But what the Adroit team couldn’t see was that the aging air-conditioning system lacked an all-important fresh air intake, so they breathe potentially harmful air pollutants throughout the day.
Libelium sensors to monitor indoor air quality
“We installed a Libelium Particle Matter sensor, measuring CO2, carbon monoxide, particle matter, nitric dioxide, and ozone gasses – all components of air quality at workplace standards (IAQ). We were measuring them on a 15-minute interval, so we were able to graph what was happening to the air over the timeline of the day. In the morning, we were fine since we started the day with CO2 at around 500 parts per million. But it got progressively worse as the day went on. As a tenant, you asume that the air conditioning vents to the outside, that it’s got good filters that get cleaned and maintained. However, the data pointed to a massive issue with building ventilation,” Ulrich said.
When they decide to replace the air conditioning unit, they discovered that it had not the right ventilation. Once, resolved these basics of the indoor air quality, now, the average inside of the building is around 400 to 600 ppm throughout the day. That’s well below the New Zealand standard, anything more is considered seriously unhealthy.