Integrated Air Quality Sensor for Energy Efficient Environment Control
INTASENSE was a major European project to improve indoor air quality and reduce building energy consumption. Part-funded through the European Commission’s Energy Efficient Buildings PPP (Public Private Partnership), INTASENSE involved eight organisations from five countries.
Space heating accounts for more than 50% of the energy consumption of public & residential buildings, and reduction of this energy demand is a key strategy in the move to low energy/low-carbon buildings. The careful management of air flow within a building forms part of this strategy through the control of inlet fresh air and exhaust air, maximising air re-circulation, and minimising the amount of fresh air which is often drawn in through a heat exchanger. However with this approach there is a high risk of reduced air quality.
Poor Indoor Air Quality Kills
Continued exposure to environments with poor air quality is a major public health concern in developed and developing countries. It is estimated that the pollutants responsible for poor air quality cause nearly 2.5 million premature deaths per year world-wide. Significantly, around 1.5 million of these deaths are due to polluted indoor air, and it is suggested that poor indoor air quality may pose a significant health risk to more than half of the world’s population. Due to its link with industrialisation, societal health problems associated with poor air quality disproportionately affects developed and developing nations – it is estimated that air pollution is responsible for the premature deaths of 370,000 EU citizens annually, with average life expectancy reduced by nearly 9 months.
Perhaps surprisingly, remedial action to improve air quality is often easy to implement once airborne pollutants have been detected.
The INTASENSE project aimed to develop a low cost and comprehensive air quality monitoring system which can detect the main pollutants that contribute to poor indoor air quality (volatile organic compounds (VOCs), combustion gases and particulates).
- To combine advanced detection technologies to produce an air quality sensing system with advanced capabilities to provide low cost comprehensive monitoring of key airborne pollutants
- To develop a smart air quality sensing system that can interface intelligently with existing ventilation and air treatments systems to optimise energy efficiency while maintaining acceptable air quality
- To improve the health, quality of life and productivity of EU citizens by providing the means to limit citizens’ exposure to poor quality indoor air.
The project was hailed as a success by the European Commission, who subsequently invited the project to present at the European Conference “Renaturing Cities: Addressing Environmental Challenges and the Effects of the Economic Crisis through Nature-Based Solutions”, 13-14 May 2014, in Brussels.
The consortium partners are exploring opportunities to further the INTASENSE work – we are looking for other funding, and we have already submitted one Horizon 2020 proposal as a follow-on.
Co-funded by the European Union under the FP7 programme