IAQ and Airborne Viruses
The Indoor Environment, Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioning (HVAC), Mechanical and Electrical (M&E), United Kingdom
The addition of a Virus Risk Indicator to Airthings' IAQ and Radon monitoring platforms provides insights into the contribution of indoor air quality in spreading airborne viruses.
The Covid-19 pandemic has driven an unprecedented increase in awareness and concern about indoor air quality and how it can impact on our health. As a result, we are living through a time where schools, offices and other commercial buildings are under immense pressure to foster an environment that preserves the health and wellness of their occupants, employees, and students. We’re all familiar with tactics to minimise the spread of COVID-19 such as avoiding close contact, using face masks, and washing hands frequently. As public health authorities have acknowledged the potential of airborne spread, there’s an increased focus on the role of ventilation in buildings too.
How the Virus Risk Indicator Works
The Virus Risk Indicator uses data from Airthings core sensors that track CO2, humidity, and temperature into a custom-developed algorithm that calculates the risk of airborne virus spread in an indoor space. The Virus Risk Indicator evaluates four factors that have direct relationships with indoor airborne virus spread and then assigns a ranked risk level ranging from one to 10. These factors include the following:
- Virus survival rate: How long virus microdroplets can survive in the air.
- Room occupancy: Densely populated rooms increase the chance that people breathe each other's breath.
- Ventilation rate: How much and how often fresh air is coming in a space.
- The body’s natural defenses: The effectiveness of our bodies to defend against airborne viruses is affected by temperature and humidity.
Integration allows business customers to access their Virus Risk Indicator data via the Airthings Dashboard, an online platform that provides access to real-time and historical sensor data.
The company's CEO, Oyvind Birkenes, explains: "Airborne virus transmission is a scary topic, but with the right information and data, it can be reduced significantly.
"By introducing the Virus Risk Indicator into our Airthings for Business solution, we can provide essential information for existing customers at no added cost by allowing them instant access to the feature in their Airthings Dashboard. Our mission has always been to help people live healthier, better lives through air quality monitoring, and we couldn’t be more eager to deliver this peace-of-mind than with our Virus Risk Indicator."
An out-of-the-box solution for any building
A dedicated "Airthings for Business" solution is ideally suited for any office, school, or commercial space. By monitoring the air quality in individual rooms and spaces, users can understand which areas have elevated airborne virus risk and adjust accordingly. Mitigation insights guide the management and reduction of risk associated with changes of circumstance, including increasing or changing ventilation systems, or establishing occupancy limits for certain rooms. Different areas might need a different approach, and data is essential for planning preventive measures as part of virus risk reduction strategy.
Because the Airthings for Business solution continuously monitors IAQ, it is feasible to evaluate where methods are working and where they aren’t. Armed with this data, users can then test different methods to find a sweet spot that keeps any airborne Virus Risk levels low. Users can even generate a Virus Risk Insight report to receive detailed analysis of all monitored rooms in your building. The report provides insight into indoor air quality and the factors that might impact the spread of airborne viruses. Sensors do not measure or detect viruses in the air.
The Virus Risk Indicator is now officially available as a monitoring feature in the Airthings for Business solution, which also measures CO2, humidity, temperature, radon, airborne chemicals (VOCs), pressure, occupancy and relative light intensity.