Using CO2 Monitors to Improve Ventilation & Employee Wellbeing

CO2 Monitors in improve ventilation and wellbeing - featured image

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Creating healthy indoor air quality (IAQ) is a priority for any business. Poor IAQ can lead to numerous problems including headaches, fatigue, dizziness, respiratory issues, and more. Vulnerable people such as those with asthma or other conditions must take special precautions to avoid any negative effects from the air in the work environment.

When you have a high volume of people in one space like a factory or office, monitoring your CO2 levels is key. Improving ventilation while also monitoring CO2 levels will help keep your employees safe and healthy. This blog post discusses why CO2 monitors should be used to improve workplace ventilation and how they can be implemented effectively in your facility.

 

What Causes High Levels of CO2 in the office?

Any indoor space in an office that has a lot of people in it at once will have an increased CO2 level. Everyone exhales CO2, and the more people there are in one room, the more CO2 is being released into the atmosphere. However, there are other factors that can cause CO2 levels to rise above and beyond normal intervals. These include the personal hygiene habits of employees, climate conditions, and types of activities being performed by employees.

In order to ensure you’re getting the best possible air quality in your office and protecting the wellbeing of people in your workplace, it’s important to understand exactly what’s causing high levels of CO2 in your space. Once you know what causes high levels of CO2, you can implement changes that will help lower it. When you’ve identified these areas you can work on improving the ventilation to decrease the concentration of CO2 in any given area. 

 

Benefits of Good Ventilation in the Office

With offices becoming ever more cramped, we all need to find ways to make them feel bigger and lighter. Yet many office workers spend their days in stuffy spaces with artificial lighting and lack of windows. This is not only unhealthy, but can also lead to employees feeling disconnected from their natural environment.

The result is a room that’s stuffy, humid and artificially lit all day long. What’s more, research has shown that good ventilation can help reduce stress levels for employees working in an office space.

To slightly counteract these effects, it’s important to include some features in the design of your office that will help you keep it fresh and healthy at all times. Good ventilation is one way to do this by keeping air moving through the space so that it doesn’t get stale or humid quickly.

Here are four benefits of great ventilation in the office.

  • Reduces the risk of fire
  • Reduces the risk of sickness
  • Can help save money
  • Can reduce your energy consumption

 

How Carbon Dioxide Monitors can help identify areas with poor ventilation

Carbon dioxide monitors are excellent tools for identifying areas in your building where there is poor ventilation. These monitors are relatively inexpensive and can be installed in both commercial and residential settings. They provide an accurate reading of the carbon dioxide level in the area you are monitoring.

The carbon dioxide levels of these monitors typically range from 0 to 100 parts per million (ppm). However, it is important to note that carbon dioxide levels can vary depending on a number of factors, such as temperature and humidity.

Because carbon dioxide monitors are able to measure carbon dioxide levels, they can also be used to determine the effectiveness of ventilation. They can help identify the areas in your property that need more attention. For example, they can help you to identify places where you have problems with mould and mildew.

Carbon dioxide monitors can also be used to check the effectiveness of energy-saving ventilation systems. They can help you to identify places where there is too much humidity or too little airflow and they can also help you to identify places where there is poor insulation.

 

What are CO2 Monitors?

CO2 monitors are devices that measure the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air. They are used to help determine if there is too much CO2 in the air, which may be a sign of a problem. CO2 monitors can also be used to check levels of other greenhouse gases, such as methane. 

There are several different types of CO2 monitors. Some monitor concentrations of CO2 in air while others use light absorption or reflectivity to detect CO2 levels. Some also include sensors that can detect methane.

 

Types of CO2 Monitors

There are two main types of CO2 monitors: direct and indirect. Direct monitors get their measurements directly from an air sample, while indirect monitors use a sensor to measure the relative humidity in the air. The primary difference is that direct monitors are more accurate, but they only work when it’s dry outside. Indirect monitors are more common, but they can be less accurate in humid environments. It’s important to choose the right type for your needs.

For example, if you want to monitor the humidity level in your property, an indirect monitor is best. If you need to keep track of the CO2 levels in a greenhouse or other outdoor environment, a direct monitor is a better choice.

In addition to types of monitors, there are also several options when it comes to measuring CO2 concentrations. Some devices will only register the amount of CO2 in an air sample, while others will also measure temperature and relative humidity levels as well.

Of course, these extra details can help you to get more accurate readings, but it also adds more complexity to an already-complicated system. As such, some people may prefer a simpler approach that just tracks the CO2 levels alone.

 

Examples of CO2 Monitors

Beringar HX Series

beringar HX2 sensor CO2 monitor

Beringar HX Series sensors have a machine vision sensor which detects, counts, and locates people within a 50-meter-square area. Indoor air quality, indoor climate, sound, and light levels are recorded along with occupancy data with this device. Bluetooth 5 technology is also included to enable on-site applications such as wayfinding and local content delivery. This GDPR-compliant, edge-processing device sends data to the Beringar Cloud via LoRaWAN, WiFi, or Ethernet, and then machine learning is used to convert sensor data into meaningful and consequential insights.

 

EnviSense CO2 Monitor

aeros co2 sensor

Image source: EnviSense

Using the EnviSense CO2 meter is simple, and ventilating at the right time prevents poor air quality in your living space. The CO2 meter displays carbon dioxide levels, temperature, and humidity using a clear display, so it is suitable for quick measurements at home or at work, as well as in schools or daycare centres.

 

Aeros particulate matter detector and aerosols, TVOC and CO2 detector

envisense co2 monitor

Image Source: Aeros Sensor

The advanced sensor contains high-quality electronics that display the five most important indoor climate parameters in real-time and down to the second: temperature, relative humidity, CO₂ (carbon dioxide), TVOC (volatile organic compounds), and particulate matter. This makes a positive contribution to achieving various building standards and collecting data that can be used to optimize the indoor climate.

 

Where are the best places to install CO2 Monitors?

Indoor air quality monitors are most effective when they are placed in areas that have high activity levels. Common places to install a CO2 Monitor include conference rooms, break rooms and offices. CO2 Monitors can also be used in areas where there is a lot of transient traffic, such as retail parks or lobbies.

Furthermore, it is recommended that CO2 Monitors be installed at least five feet (or at head height) above ground level. This will help to reduce the risk of them becoming clogged with dust and debris. 

At the end of the day, it’s all about knowing your employees and how they use the office space around you. If you notice that employees are leaving their desks more than usual during peak hours, you may want to consider installing a CO2 Monitor.

When installing carbon dioxide monitors it’s important to place them away from:

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Air supply openings

 

How to read and act on the results from your co2 monitor

It is usually reported in building guides as a ‘recommended value’ that the ventilation rate is the amount of air that is delivered to a room over a period of time.

In line with the HSE Approved Code of Practice, ‘The fresh-air supply rate should not drop below 5 to 8 litres per second per person (l/s/p). Many guides recommend that a value of 10 litres per second per person is suitable for most commercial structures.’

You can estimate the air flow rate using CO2 monitors. One hundred ppm of CO2 in the air equates to about 10 litres per second per person.

It is important to maintain the CO2 levels below 1500ppm in an occupied room. If they are consistently higher than this, you should carry out a risk assessment and act to improve the ventilation.

To improve the ventilation you can open windows and doors to bring in some fresh air and you should also make sure that there are no cracks in the ceiling or floor. You should also install filters on all air vents, especially those located near computers and other equipment that may be breeding grounds for bacteria. 

 

Picture of Mark Sorsa-Leslie

Mark Sorsa-Leslie

A Chartered Surveyor with a passion for technology. Developed a range of computer applications to support my work in real estate in the UK and 5 business start-ups so far. Over the last 25 years I have developed solutions ranging from eLearning platforms to IoT sensors and have been the bridge between business people and technology people throughout my career.

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