A wireless gas sensor network to monitor indoor environmental quality in schools
Schools are amongst the most densely occupied indoor areas and at the same time children and young adults are the most vulnerable group with respect to adverse health effects as a result of poor environmental conditions. Health, performance and well-being of pupils crucially depend on indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of which air quality and thermal comfort are central pillars. This makes the monitoring and control of environmental parameters in classes important. At the same time most school buildings do neither feature automated, intelligent heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems nor suitable IEQ monitoring systems. In this contribution, we therefore investigate the capabilities of a novel wireless gas sensor network to determine carbon dioxide concentrations, along with temperature and humidity. The use of a photoacoustic detector enables the construction of long-term stable, miniaturized, LED-based non-dispersive infrared absorption spectrometers without the use of a reference channel. The data of the sensor nodes is transmitted via a Z-Wave protocol to a central gateway, which in turn sends the data to a web-based platform for online analysis. The results show that it is difficult to maintain adequate IEQ levels in class rooms even when ventilating frequently and that individual monitoring and control of rooms is necessary to combine energy savings and good IEQ.