Why CO2 Monitoring Solutions Are the Key to Healthy Educational Environments

Why CO2 Monitoring Solutions Are the Key to Healthy Educational Environments

Come autumn, parents are faced with hard decisions concerning their children’s in-person schooling. With an eye to the Delta variant of COVID-19 outbreak, and another on their children’s education, it’s a difficult choice to make. However, there are solutions which can help alleviate these concerns, starting with the technology designed to improve air quality in schools.

Health, be it physical or mental, starts with the quality of the air that we breathe. Outdoor and indoor air can contain fine particles a fraction of the diameter of a human hair, such as PM10 (10 micrometers or smaller) and PM2.5 (2.5 micrometers or smaller). The air may contain pollutants, particulate matter, gases (like carbon monoxide CO2, radon, volatile organic compounds VOCs), chemicals, viruses and other substances that are hazardous for human health.

Several EPA studies[1] of human exposure to air pollutants have shown that indoor levels of pollutants maybe two to five times — and occasionally more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels. 

Other studies show that healthy educational environments are crucial for school performance and student and staff health. A study[2] by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows that poor indoor air quality, with high CO2 levels and low ventilation rates, may dull cognitive abilities.

Also, air that has a high particulate count can represent a health hazard, as it can lead to coughing, shortness of breath or aggravating asthma, eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches or allergic reactions.

Being aware of the effects of indoor air quality on human health is one of the main drivers behind designing monitoring and ventilation solutions.

CO2 monitoring devices for indoor air quality

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)[3] show that carbon dioxide monitoring can provide information on air quality in a given space. These readings can be then used to improve ventilation practices and enhance protection against CO2, dust, viruses, and airborne microbes, to name just a few.

Gas sensors such as Honeywell’s CRIR series can be easily embedded in devices used to detect the CO2 concentration in the indoor air and provide an indication of building ventilation needs.

A collaboration between Honeywell’s Advanced Sensing Technology business and ISIS IC GmbH led to the development of Ampel, a device designed to serve as an indicator of overall air quality mainly in classroom environments.

ISIS IC GmbH embedded Honeywell’s CRIR CO2 sensor in a detection device that is reliable and affordable, easy to read and interpret even by non-specialists, and that can be used in shared spaces such as schools and offices or the transportation sector. 

The CRIR sensor series is maintenance-free for normal indoor applications, has an enhanced long-term stability and features high accuracy, while providing consistency, repeatability and easy integration.

Building sustainable ventilation practices based on CO2 readings

Based on CO2 readings, schools can apply ventilation practices to improve indoor air quality, and pupils’ and staff’s wellbeing. Studies have shown that having strong, sustainable ventilation practices can promote healthy environments. The Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published a study[4] stating that that HEPA filtration units help reduce COVID-19 spread in the classroom.

Together with other mitigation measures such as the use of masks, physical distancing, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, contact tracing, and cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, monitoring and ventilation solutions can improve air quality and lower the risk of transmission.

Honeywell is a global leader in sensor technology with a 75-year switching and sensing legacy. Discover the entire CRIR Series and other CO2 detection solutions.

[1] https://www.epa.gov/iaq-schools/why-indoor-air-quality-important-schools#why

[2] https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/27662232/4892924.pdf?sequence=1

[3] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/ventilation.html

[4] https://centerforhealthsecurity.org/sites/default/files/2023-02/20210526-school-ventilation.pdf


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