In view of environmental challenges, and high levels of air pollution, there is a constant need to monitor indoor and outdoor air quality. The quality of the air in your home, school classrooms, or workplace can greatly affect your health, and high CO2 levels can indicate poor ventilation or a lack of fresh air entering the building. People exhale CO2 continuously, which increases CO2 in an enclosed area. So, it is important to monitor carbon dioxide levels in your building on a regular basis to be sure that ambient air has a high level of oxygen and a pretty low level of carbon dioxide.
What Levels of CO2 are Typical Indoors?
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas and it is produced by humans. While it is not dangerous at normal concentrations, it can have a negative impact on human health when exceeds the recommended level. The level of carbon dioxide concentrations can vary widely in different indoor environments. While not perfect but an acceptable concentration of CO2 in residential or commercial buildings is between 1000 and 1200 parts per million (ppm), this level in highly occupied buildings can easily exceed 1800 or even 3000 ppm. Most people won’t even notice the increase of odorless gas but soon enough they will notice negative health effects appearing because of the poor indoor air quality (IAQ).
Now, it is difficult to answer how much fresh air do you need to have good health and avoid problems with the respiratory system. It is really difficult to answer since even outside air worsened with time, and now we consider 650 ppm acceptable against 450 ppm which was a norm only 50 years ago. With the increased heat in the open air, and, most importantly, in the enclosed space, each person has to decide for themselves how much air they need, and how to ensure it is fresh.
At the same time, indoor air quality (IAQ) is easier to measure and control in everyday life than outdoor air. Building owners can continuously keep an eye on carbon dioxide concentrations with properly installed sensors in meeting rooms, conference spaces, or other areas with large numbers of people present. By measuring CO2 you will be able to organize the ventilation in your environment in such a way as to keep carbon dioxide concentrations within the normal range.
Why do you Need to Measure Carbon Dioxide?
When we are talking about the need to monitor CO2, we should highlight the negative effects of the gas. When the levels of CO2 are too high, it can lead to fatigue, headaches, and reduced concentration. Even moderate levels can affect human health and result in a lack of attention and energy. That is why you need to be aware of carbon dioxide monitoring options, and the benefits they can bring.
CO2 is a component of the atmosphere and will be present in the outdoor and indoor air anyway. However, the more carbon dioxide you breathe in, the more dangerous it is for your health. Fortunately, there are ways to track CO2 concentration in the room and keep the air fresh. The best way to do this is to use data gathered by an IoT-powered sensor that can continuously analyze data, providing you with real-time updates. In addition to monitoring the air in your home, you can also buy a CO2 sensor for your workplace or any other environment.
1. Optimize Performance
High levels of CO2 can significantly decrease the cognitive abilities of a person and the efficiency of working performance. Many people spend a good part of their time in classes or office environments. It means students and employees have to spend around 8-9 hours in an enclosed room space with possibly increased CO2. According to one of the most recent studies, increasing CO2 had negative effects on cognition and decision-making, and influenced cognitive function in general. This study found that when the carbon dioxide gas level is around 1400 parts per million (ppm), a person’s decision-making skill is reduced by 25% while strategic thinking can be reduced by up to 50% (1). That is why the necessity for CO2 to be measured is high and understandable.
At the same time, when facility managers or anyone else in charge of air conditioning tracking, has the access to the measurements of CO2 they may organize the working or learning environment in such a way that the level of CO2 gas will be within the acceptable norm. With a reliable IoT sensor, you will know exactly when the room needs to be ventilated, what is the sufficient number of people for one enclosed space, and how high the CO2 exposure is in your space.
2. Ensuring Safety
Undeniably, the main reason to monitor CO2 levels is to ensure you are breathing fresh air that is not in any way dangerous to your well-being. If the carbon dioxide concentration is too high, it can cause headaches, dizziness, loss of concentration, and even loss of consciousness. Additionally, we are still living in a COVID-19 pandemic, so we need to constantly observe CO2 concentration to lower the risk of contracting COVID-19. When CO2 is high and there is no proper ventilation the chance of getting infected increases several times. The carbon dioxide level is a proxy for the level of COVID-19 since even if one person in one indoor environment is sick, without proper ventilation, other people will get sick soon as well. One prominent example of the consequences of poor ventilation is the situation in ships, where all the passengers got sick with COVID-19 because the air with high CO2 concentration was simply circulated around the cabins. There are many other cases when people got infected due to a bad ventilation system with a high level of CO2, so it should definitely be measured and controlled. If the CO2 levels are too high, the most effective way to lower the risk of getting this disease is to install an IoT-based ventilation system.
Other reasons to track CO2 levels in spaces you are present in are tightly connected to direct diseases carbon dioxide can cause. Several studies have shown that a higher concentration of CO2 inside an enclosed area can be a triggering factor for asthma and other respiratory conditions (2). That is why to decrease the possibility of respiratory diseases development, you should make sure that your building is ventilated effectively by putting an IoT-based CO2 sensor in each room. Poorly ventilated areas can lead to problems with the respiratory system and other related illnesses.
In addition, indoor air with elevated CO2 levels can negatively affect the human brain. For example, according to the scientific advisory group from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, it can affect productivity and the general ability of a person to perform critical thinking. Monitoring CO2 levels, in turn, can prevent you from illness and protect your health.
3. Be Aware of the CO2 Concentration Level
When you are aware of CO2 concentration in the outdoor or indoor environment, you are able to determine ways of decreasing it. Without carbon dioxide monitoring, you will inhale more than a million CO2 particles from the air without even realizing it. After all, it can lead to the worsening of your working and thinking abilities, and you will not be aware of the reason behind this.
Additionally, when you are aware of the CO2 level, you may decide on better options for space organization. It is not only a case for offices but it can be applicable to homes and even hospitals. For example, in the hospital chamber, there can be more than 2 people and a CO2 sensor will help to decide on the needed frequency of ventilation or even relocation of patients to another chamber. People breathe out considerable amounts of CO2 and it goes first up to the ceiling (approx. to a head height) but if no action is made, it will spread all over the room. The CO2 monitoring sensor, in turn, will also identify poor ventilation if such is present and send a notification to reduce CO2 levels. Knowing data on mechanical ventilation and CO2 monitoring will ensure high ventilation rates and fresh air within smaller or larger spaces.
As previously mentioned, carbon dioxide monitoring and monitoring indoor air quality can increase your comfort and safety in a wide variety of environments. Different pieces of research show that increased CO2 levels are tightly linked to cognitive learning and productivity. Besides, many people are increasingly concerned with indoor air quality because they are afraid of the possible impacts poor air can have on their children. It is of special concern for schools as the activity levels of students vary and at the highest periods, CO2 is even beyond safe levels. Moreover, an increase in the number of environmental concerns has led to a growing demand for carbon dioxide monitors. In this day and age, it’s essential to be aware of the level of CO2 in your home.
4. Set the Ventilation Schedule
High concentrations of CO2 in homes are generally a sign of inadequate ventilation. Elevated levels of CO2 in homes are not healthy and call for a demand-controlled ventilation system. You already know that excessive amounts of CO2 in indoor area can affect a person’s health in a negative way. This is why a proper ventilation schedule is vital. When you know the level of CO2 in a particular space, you may establish the schedule of windows opening or working cycles of automated HVAC. Having the right HVAC system, in turn, will help you keep the indoor area clean and healthy.
5. Increase Energy Efficiency
In terms of increasing energy efficiency, CO2 can be helpful with the savings on the ventilation systems. A CO2 monitor can be directly involved in the improvement of ventilation in a building. A CO2 sensor can be connected to the smart HVAC system, and adjust the airflow based on the levels of CO2. This way, you can save money on energy costs since you will not have to constantly ventilate the area. Moreover, CO2 sensors can alert workers and occupants of dangerous CO2 levels, sending notifications right to the mobile phone, which is comfortable for all.
Meet TEKTELIC BREEZE for CO2 Monitoring
Considering the high necessity of carbon dioxide monitoring, TEKTELIC has developed BREEZE-D. Our BREEZE solution stands out from other end-to-end solutions and sensors since it has a range of benefits such as long battery life of up to 10 years, a simple design suitable for any interior, and easy deployment. This sensor is a good way to have reliable measurements of CO2, humidity, and temperature. What is more, unlike many other sensors for carbon dioxide monitoring, BREEZE can detect motion and light in its surrounding setting. The measurements are transmitted to the E-Ink Display Tablet, which can be placed on your table or mounted near the entrance of the room. Data updates every minute, so you will be constantly informed of any changes in the air quality.
As you see, to keep your air fresh and safe, you must understand the part-per-million percentage of CO2. The part-per-million percentage is regarded as the traces of carbon that exist within the atmosphere. With TEKTELIC BREEZE, you will definitely know how fresh your air is in any home, school, office, enterprise, or commercial environment. If you want to start breathing fresh and healthy air, it’s time to contactthe TEKTELIC support team and discover all the possibilities IoT can open for you.
1. Karnauskas, K. B., Miller, S. L., & Schapiro, A. C. (2020). Fossil Fuel Combustion Is Driving Indoor CO2 Toward Levels Harmful to Human Cognition. GeoHealth, 4(5), e2019GH000237. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GH000237
2. Vehviläinen, T., Lindholm, H., Rintamäki, H., Pääkkönen, R., Hirvonen, A., Niemi, O., & Vinha, J. (2016). High indoor CO2 concentrations in an office environment increases the transcutaneous CO2 level and sleepiness during cognitive work. Journal of occupational and environmental hygiene, 13(1), 19–29. https://doi.org/10.1080/15459624.2015.1076160