Indoor Air Quality Monitoring as a strategy for high corporate responsibility

July 2020

We have spent four months rethinking our workspaces, assessing safety and security measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure adequate working conditions.

Although flexibility is here to stay, we are still in a state of pandemic and while we reflect on the hybrid strategies of teleworking and face-to-face work, it seems important to bring to light real examples, success stories of companies that are committed to monitoring indoor air quality as one of the strategies of their high corporate responsibility .

No one doubts the importance of indoor air quality. In fact, since it was published a few days ago that "the WHO recognises that airborne transmission of the coronavirus is possible indoors", the quality of the air we breathe has become a clear priority. At inBiot, we believe it is important to be cautious with generalised corrective measures in the face of COVID-19, although, of course, improving indoor air conditions in enclosed spaces will always be a benefit for workers and users.

Success story

Zabala Innovation Consulting is an independent international consultancy of Navarrese origin specialising in the management of grants for R&D projects. A company with a family feel and an international dimension, with a clear commitment to corporate social responsibility.

One of its commitments to innovation involves mentoring start-ups through the Impulso Emprendedor programme of CEIN - Centro Europeo de Empresas e Innovación de Navarra (European Business and Innovation Centre of Navarra). InBiot was selected for this programme in 2018. In 2019, Zabala Innovation Consulting, in addition to mentoring and helping inBiot to obtain public funding, was one of its first clients, focusing on the quality of the air inside its offices.

In fact, thanks to this collaboration, an innovative formula was put into practice in the business model developed to date, implementing the leasing of the monitoring devices developed by inBiot. monitoring devices In fact, thanks to this collaboration, an innovative formula was implemented in the business model developed to date, implementing the leasing of continuous indoor air quality monitoring devices developed by inBiot.

This ensures that the evolution of indoor air quality can be monitored. This makes it possible to evaluate working conditions on a day-to-day basis and according to climatic conditions throughout the year. It also facilitates the study, analysis and specific evaluation of the different parameters that condition air quality, as well as the validation of the air conditioning and ventilation systems and habits implemented, or the maintenance strategies or equipment of the offices. 

Monitoring results

One of the most striking aspects of the indoor air quality monitoring in these offices is the low level of formaldehyde detected. Formaldehyde is one of the most common toxic substances in indoor spaces, due to its use as an adhesive, biocide, preservative, degreaser, disinfectant, solvent, fungicide, waterproofing agent, pesticide or wood preservative. Its presence is mainly due to its incorporation in chipboard glues and other wood-based materials. In other words, it is a contaminant widely present in construction and finishing materials and, mainly, in equipment and furniture.

Formaldehyde is a hazardous substance, as at high levels it can cause allergies, headaches, mucous membrane irritation, itchy nose, red eyes, coughing or hair loss . It is also blacklisted by the Trade Union Institute for Labour, Environment and Health and classified as a carcinogen.

For this reason, Zabala Innovation Consulting has opted for furniture made of formaldehyde-free boards, which is the only one of its kind in the world that is free of formaldehyde . formaldehyde. A measure whose effectiveness is reflected in the monitored data, with continuous background values of less than 40 µg/m3, when the maximum values recommended by the WHO are around 100 µg/m3.

IAQ monitoring as a strategy for high corporate responsibility

Improving the quality of indoor spaces also involves raising awareness among workers and users of the building. In fact, the next step being worked on is to display the monitored information in real time, in a visible place. In this way, it will be an information tool, not only for those who manage the devices, but also for those who occupy the building.

The My inBiot cloud platform offers the possibility to display the data in full screen, a service that would complement the information already available. Because data can be just classified numbers, but the moment they become information, they are a key piece in the possibilities and strategies for indoor health improvement .

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