Air pollution is a major concern in many cities worldwide. Atmospheric ambient pollutants are responsible for health problems ranging from asthma to cancer. Outdoor air pollution also causes environmental damages. Monitoring airborne pollutants is of utmost importance to reliably assess the impact of air pollution on the human health, enable urban planners to craft and accurately evaluate new policies, and increase public awareness.
Nowadays, air pollution is monitored by networks of highly accurate but fixed measurement stations. Hence, the gathered data has a low spatial resolution and can not be used to assess the spatial variability of pollutants in detail. As a result, little is known about the spatial distribution of air pollutants in urban environments.
It is common for people to spend most of the day inside a building between school, work, and family time. Recently, an investigation of time budgets found that United States residents spend an average of 88% of their day inside buildings and 7% of their day inside vehicles. This meant that only 5% of the residents' time was spent outdoors. In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that four million people die every year from causes relating to indoor air pollution which is more than the death toll of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and malaria combined.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is defined as the comfortable range of "the temperature, humidity, ventilation and chemical or biological contaminants of the air inside a building". IAQ is a measure of air cleanliness within a building and is important because people spend most of their time indoors. When IAQ is unsatisfactory, a condition known as Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) can occur in building occupants along with Building Related Illnesses (BRIs). SBS has been reported in many countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, China, Sweden, Denmark, Australia and the Netherlands. Symptoms of SBS consist of headaches, eye, nose, and throat irritation, coughing, nausea, dizziness, and difficulty in concentration. Building occupants experience these symptoms within buildings but the symptoms disappear or improve significantly after the occupant leaves the building. Because the symptoms of SBS disappear or improve significantly after the building occupant leaves, SBS is hard to diagnose and treat. It is difficult to determine if SBS is caused by "insufficient ventilation or thermal control, inadequate maintenance of building systems," lighting, noise, or another factor but it can be determined that SBS is linked to specific buildings.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is the comfortable range of parameters that influence the quality of the air such as the temperature, relative humidity, and concentration of gases. Buildings designed to keep outdoor air out of the buildings for energy efficiency coupled with inadequate ventilation can lead to the accumulation of indoor air pollutants.
The typical approach to providing satisfactory air quality in work spaces or living spaces is to measure contaminant concentrations in the space, both in terms of gas or vapor concentrations (HCHO, TVOC, CO2 or other noxious gases), or airborne particulate concentrations (PM2.5, PM10). The measured values are then compared with safe or recommended air quality conditions. Measurement of air quality, however, typically requires complex and expensive equipment to be used by specially trained personnel.
An air quality monitoring system at a site having a private communications network adapted to carry data traffic. The air quality monitoring system includes at least one sensor assembly programmed to collect air quality data at the site.