Summary of the Airthings Air Summit 2021 - The future of our buildings and how we can make them healthier, smarter, and more sustainable.
Airthings Air Summit 2021 brought together key speakers from around the world to explore the future of our buildings and how we can make them healthier, smarter, and more sustainable.
Hosted in Norway, the home of fresh air, world champion skier and Airthings chairman Aksel Lund Svindal kicked off the event, followed by guest speakers from RESET, Infogrid, Evotech Air Quality, Frydenbø and Airly, to name but a few.
During his introductory speech, Aksel explained that air quality is something we often take for granted. If there is a ventilation system in our homes or buildings, we unconsciously assume the air must be healthy. But, as we know, this is not always the case. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, and yet few people know about it. He has high hopes for the exciting tech scene in Norway to help solve this issue.
What have we learnt? Energy savings under scrutiny
Proptech Norway founder, Henrik Botten Taubøll, kicked off the event with a keynote about the future of the Proptech industry, innovation and the effects of Covid. During the pandemic, home offices became the new norm and offices stood empty. Yet, thanks to the Airthings air quality data, it is clear that most buildings were still running as usual. “As the global pandemic started in March 2020, buildings in Norway shut down and home-office became the new norm. Yet, the energy spent in these buildings was the same, even without people using them, ”Proptech Norway's founder, Henrik Botten Taubøl.
NB: We’d like to point out here that Evotech engineers have been supporting our UK clients in the partial closing and mothballing of commercial buildings throughout the course of the pandemic, to ensure buildings remained safe and compliant whilst reducing running costs when buildings had reduced occupancy rates.
An introduction to RESET certification
This is a problem that sensor technology can help with. Stanton Wong, President of RESET, joined remotely from Shanghai to advocate for continuous monitoring of indoor air quality in buildings—a requirement for getting a building RESET certified. “Continuous monitoring is the difference between monitoring and just seeing a quick glance at the health of your building.” RESET is a set of standards and assessment tools and services that help property owners develop actionable, long term strategies towards health and sustainability for the built environment. Evotech Air Quality can assess and certify buildings in the UK to allow them to use the RESET Air badge.
Raising awareness and securing clean air in educational environments
With a legacy of disrepair and temporary buildings used beyond their lifespan, Evotech Air Quality’s Director, John Lumb, pointed out the need to prioritise IAQ especially in schools. The UK school estate has a gross internal floor area of 78.7 million square meters and the estimated total cost of repairs is £11.4 billion. It is clear that improved air quality needs to be a part of these refurbishments.
Stating that every child has the right to breathe clean air, whether at home, at school or at play, John said that IAQ monitoring was essential in reopening spaces safely. He went on to talk about how Evotech Air Quality is supporting local schools, in partnership with Airthings and Airly, to help them monitor, understand and improve the air they breathe. #CleanAirSchools
Using IoT and artificial intelligence to create a healthy workplace.
IoT can help to improve business efficiency, reduce costs, drive sustainability, optimise maintenance, even improve health and wellbeing, so how do we utilise it? Ross Sheil, Vice President of Revenue at Infogrid discussed how AI and IoT can be leveraged to ensure buildings are healthy spaces. According to a survey by Infogrid, 1 in 2 employees are uncomfortable returning to the workplace and 61% would feel better if they had access to data on the healthiness of the building.
Airthings' View CO2 for Business
In response to the current situation, our partners Airthings, announced a new addition to its product portfolio, the View CO₂ for Business. With up to ten years' battery life, the new wireless sensor helps schools, offices and commercial buildings take charge of their air quality by warning them when CO₂ levels become unhealthy. The launch comes at a time where regulations to measure CO₂ in schools are becoming more common. Countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands have already introduced regulations to monitor air quality in schools and the UK and several states in the US, are also implementing similar measures.
Hyperlocal ambient air quality monitoring
In a breakout session, Jakub Madej, EMEA International Sales Manager at Airly explained that it’s necessary to install many outdoor air quality sensors, and not rely solely on official monitoring stations. He demonstrated the localised nature of air quality, showing that hyper-localised monitoring was the best approach.
The market will continue to emerge and new products, AI and IoT will develop at speed to create solutions that help us further reduce emissions, improve air quality and indoor environments and improve the health and wellbeing of people around the world. Until next year!