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Control indoor air quality for people’s health and comfort

Andrea Oscar Frisiero

Carel’s k.Air intelligent control system combines strategies, emphasising energy savings and ensuring compliance with operating protocols.

What innovative monitoring instruments are in place for checking indoor and outdoor air quality to maintain a clean environment? 

The market for air quality monitoring and control solutions has been profoundly impacted by the Covid pandemic. Various monitoring and supervision solutions are now widely available; these both measure the parameters that define air quality and record them and make them available either locally or via the cloud. However, the most innovative and complete systems are modular, i.e. they can also manage the building’s mechanical control systems, taking advantage of the sensors and supervisors already installed not only to monitor air quality, but also to actively improve it and manage it. 

In this regard, Carel proposes a modular solution comprising the “boss” family supervisors combined with IAQ sensors and k.Air controllers for managing the ventilation systems. 

Increase the outside air ventilation 

Increasing ventilation with outside air has recently been one of the strongest recommendations, both to dilute the concentration of indoor pollutants and reduce the risk of contagion due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, this strategy requires special attention. Firstly, the actual quality of the outside air needs to be considered. Furthermore, it means higher energy consumption and, in the winter, a decrease in indoor relative humidity due to heating. It is therefore advisable to modulate this strategy based on actual occupation of the building and to provide suitable humidification systems for maintaining the right indoor relative humidity levels for human comfort and health. 

New technologies to be more effective to manage IAQ in big spaces in view of large gatherings of people 

Controlling indoor air quality has proven to be important for people’s health and comfort, even more so in large spaces and with big gatherings. It is therefore necessary to equip the ventilation systems with control logic that can adapt to variable conditions, keeping indoor air quality at the desired levels but at the same time adopting energy saving strategies whenever lower reduced occupancy levels allow.
Carel thus proposes the k.Air intelligent control system, which combines strategies aimed at emphasising energy savings and ensuring compliance with operating protocols in line with the most recent hygiene regulations (VDI6022). 

Investing in IAQ even if it means higher costs after the pandemic 

The pandemic has been a catalyst for making both experts and the public at large recognise how important building air quality is becoming one of the criteria, when designing HVAC systems rather than just a “nice to have”. We believe that focus needs to be kept on the issue, without forgetting the need to keep costs down. Health and energy saving are now both important needs and should be achieved in parallel.

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