Senseware Reports Air Quality Results at Realcomm | IBcon 2021
Chase Youngblood, Solutions Engineer, Senseware
"Do you know what you're breathing?" is the question Realcomm | IBcon attendees were welcomed with as they scanned a QR code to check the air quality inside of the building.
To provide a safer in-person event experience, Senseware indoor air quality (IAQ) units were placed all over the conference hall including the registration area, expo hall, coffee bar, info desk, restrooms, and more.
Data was sent in real-time to Senseware's IoT platform which analyzed it and spat out a few key metrics about the air in the overall space. When the attendees scanned the QR code, they saw a dashboard that displayed real-time air quality metrics. This sparked conversations and gave the attendees' assurance that their health is a priority.
CEO's Key Conference Takeaways
1: Data Analytics
Data analytics are top of mind for the commercial real estate industry. The C-suite wants analytics on all aspects of the built environment including building usage, occupancy, employee productivity, and air quality. The main questions we're hearing are: What type of data do I need? How do I get it in the most cost-effective way? Once I'm collecting data, how can I use it to make better business decisions? That's why having data analytics is crucial to getting a holistic understanding of your space.
2: IAQ Monitoring
IAQ monitoring is here to stay. Once COVID hit, the need for IAQ monitoring went through the roof. It wasn't clear if the demand would subside as COVID cases went down. Instead, employees are now demanding IAQ monitoring be included in their return to the office plan. The public is taking an active interest in air health in a way that's never happened before. I believe we are on the cusp of history as it relates to how we view our indoor spaces. Air quality is a crucial piece to our long-term health and wellbeing.
3: Tiered Approach
There is fear around what technologies should be used, concerns around liability, and how to approach implementation. A tiered approach is the only way to achieve success. It can feel like a huge feat to implement new technology, but when you clearly understand each stage in the process it takes the worry out. For example, when it comes to adding IAQ monitoring to your building, the first step is internal. It consists of adding units to the space, giving a few key members access to the data, and seeing what you learn. Once you have a clear understanding of the air quality and feel good about it, then you can share it with your team. Eventually, this culminates into sharing it with other stakeholders, like customers, via a Lobby View dashboard.
Results of Air Quality Monitoring at Realcomm | IBcon
Senseware installed ten IAQ packages throughout the conference with each measuring temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, VOC, and particulate matter (PM0.3-1.0, PM2.5, and PM10) levels. With a scan of the QR code, attendees could see a real-time dashboard that displayed air quality metrics. Shown here is the floor map view within the Senseware Dashboard. Each green circle indicates the location of an IAQ unit.
Air Quality at A Glance
Overall, the indoor air quality was great throughout the entire conference. A key part of having healthy air quality is ventilation. Realcomm conference organizers made the smart decision of opening the grand doors of the Expo Hall that led outside. This meant that outdoor air was constantly circulating in the space. The commitment to safety was evident and a number of exhibitors booths were placed outside to keep the number of exhibitors inside to a reasonable amount. There were also portable air purifiers installed throughout the space. Both of these contributed to excellent ventilation that kept CO2 levels below 600 ppm for the majority of the conference.
Impacts of Busy Breakout Sessions
We did notice a CO2 increase in the COVID Tech & IAQ Lab held in the Powell room (black line in image) to around 800 ppm. This increase corresponds to the COVID IAQ panel that was hosted on Tuesday evening in the Lab. With around 50 people attending, this increase is expected. To put it in perspective, ASHRAE recommends CO2 levels to be below 1,000 ppm so this is still within that limit. With only a 200-ppm increase in CO2 levels this indicates the ventilation was exceptional to begin with. Both doors to the space stayed open during the panel which also helped the flow of air.
Air Quality Adjusts with HVAC Cycles
Particulate matter levels were kept very low during the operating hours of the conference. The only increases occurred late at night, which was due to HVAC systems cycling off. The levels were still well within acceptable limits.
The Impact of Sanitization Products
TVOC levels were good throughout the conference. Some spikes occurred every now and then from hand sanitizer and cleaning chemicals. The reassuring thing is each of the spikes in TVOCs quickly diminished indicating good ventilation. The longest lasting TVOC increase occurred during lunchtime at around 12 PM on Wednesday when an open buffet of food was set-up down the hall from one of our IAQ units. As soon as the buffet was cleared, the TVOC levels went down. When you're able to look at the data in real-time, it's exciting to see how air quality changes as factors in the environment change.
Conclusion: Air Quality Lessons for In-Person Events
- Ventilation is crucial to healthy air quality! Check if the space you're using has access to the outside via windows or an open-air deck. If not, ask the venue if they are monitoring IAQ and can share the data.
- Adding real-time IAQ monitoring throughout your venue will help attendees feel at ease and it's the only way to be certain the air is safe during your event. Give attendees access to the data via a QR code so they can check it anytime.
- To keep CO2 down, you'll want to control the number of people in the space. If in pre-COVID times the space could fit 100 people, reduce the capacity by 25%.
- Place air purifiers in high traffic areas as an added measure.
Senseware was featured in the COVID Tech & IAQ Lab that showcased technologies that Carr Properties uses in their buildings to create a better return to work experience for their customers, along with other additional technologies that were also implemented throughout the conference. Deployment of the latest technology created a safer indoor environment and enabled lively conversations around advancing IAQ.
These articles were reprinted with permission from Senseware: Key Takeaways from Realcomm | IBcon – Part 1 CEO Edition and Realcomm | IBcon 2021: Part 2 Air Quality Results For In-Person Event.
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