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Advancements in Smart Building Indoor Air Quality Technologies

March 19, 2024
How IAQ monitoring, analysis and controls can help make occupants healthier and happier.

It’s no secret that the quality of air we breathe significantly impacts our health. Benefits include enhanced cognitive function, improved mental health, and a lower overall risk of illness. Given that people spend upwards of 90% of their time indoors, it’s crucial that a building’s occupants live and work in a building with the utmost indoor air quality (IAQ).

There are several technological advancements that can increase air quality while keeping an eye on cost. Let’s look at how improvements in air quality monitoring, analysis and control are helping to provide building occupants with the best air to make their lives happier and healthier.

Air Quality Monitoring Systems

Network-connected air quality IoT sensors have advanced significantly over the past few years. Air quality data collection is more accurate and reliable than ever. Examples of relevant air quality metrics that IoT sensors can monitor include:

Additionally, sensor prices have tumbled recently due to increased competition, improved component supply chains and improved sensor engineering. Thus, the ability to deploy sensors across multiple locations creates more data points, which leads to improved air quality accuracy.

Improved Air Quality Data Analysis

Artificial intelligence (AI) is ideal when the technology must process vast amounts of data to identify patterns and trends. Combining IAQ sensors that collect data with AI and machine learning (ML) helps to autonomously identify correlations and anomalies and determine the optimal air quality control settings in real-time.

For example, data collected from air quality sensors can be fed into an air quality analysis system. This system continuously processes this data over a period of time to find the optimal airflow and ventilation rates. However, if a variation in normal collected behavior is detected–such as when occupancy rates abnormally rise–AI can detect this anomaly and adjust airflow and air quality controls to accommodate the increase in occupancy within a specific area.

Real-time Monitoring and Control

Finally, improved data visibility and analysis can be better visualized using purpose-built IAQ monitoring dashboards. This gives facility operators a wealth of real-time information, including trends and alerts, with actionable insights. These tools can be used to quickly identify the root cause of a digital or mechanical failure. Additionally, dashboards can facilitate proactive maintenance, which helps identify IAQ components that are starting to fail, reducing the overall risk of air quality system downtime.

Addressing the Shortcomings of IAQ Systems

Legacy IAQ systems have traditionally had several drawbacks that building owners and operators had to overcome. Common weaknesses included high up-front hardware component and software costs, limited visibility, inaccurate data and ineffective results. However, given the lower costs and improved accuracy combined with intelligent analysis and automation with AI/ML, today’s IAQ systems provide much improved indoor air quality conditions with lower capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operational expenditures (OPEX).

About the Author

Andrew Froehlich | Contributor

As a highly regarded network architect and trusted IT consultant with worldwide contacts, Andrew Froehlich counts over two decades of experience and possesses multiple industry certifications in the field of enterprise networking. Andrew is the founder and president of Colorado-based West Gate Networks, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and data center build-outs. He’s also the founder of an enterprise IT research and analysis firm, InfraMomentum. As the author of two Cisco certification study guides published by Sybex, he is a regular contributor to multiple enterprise IT-related websites and trade journals with insights into rapidly changing developments in the IT industry.

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