Healthy indoor air and energy-efficient HVAC solutions
We all spend a significant proportion of our lives inside, but how often do we consider the impact that indoor air quality (IAQ) has on our productivity, well-being or health? HVAC systems are frequently installed to help maintain the comfort levels of the building, but the health benefits for occupants and the energy efficiency of a development are usually less understood. Central air handling units (AHUs) can be used to address both sustainability and IAQ issues simultaneously. Belimo supplies a range of innovative solutions to optimize monitoring and control of HVAC systems and IAQ. Our framework, the Seven Essentials of Healthy Indoor Air, provides valuable information on how HVAC devices can contribute to IAQ in buildings without compromising energy efficiency.
We have summarised the topic with inputs from IAQ experts in a brochure. Enjoy reading:
General information about indoor air quality
Important indoor air quality indicators
Humidity is the measurement of moisture in the air, and should be maintained between 40-60 percent RH for optimal comfort. However, a humidity below this can cause drying of the skin, eyes or respiratory tract, while excessive humidity can facilitate mold growth.
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
The indoor concentration of CO2 often correlates with the occupancy or activity level within an enclosed space. At a concentration exceeding 1,000 ppm, occupants will begin to experience a drop in productivity and, more importantly, may result in serious health complications.
Temperature is often closely linked to humidity, and impacts overall well-being, productivity and health. The ideal room temperature is often subjective, but is also affected by activity levels, room occupancy, humidity and air velocity.
Air velocity can greatly impact the temperature and comfort of indoor spaces, with greater velocity increasing the heat exchange between people and the surrounding air. In contrast, insufficient air flow can allow the build up of airborne contaminants, such as VOCs.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
VOCs are organic, carbon-containing compounds that can evaporate at room temperature. There are many indoor sources of potentially harmful VOCs, including cleaning products, paints, softeners, printers and adhesives.
Microscopic solid or liquid particles can become suspended in the air from sources such as pollen, dust and mold spores. These fine particles can enter our lungs, causing allergic reactions, irritation or infections.
High-performing HVAC systems achieve a healthy indoor environment thanks to outdoor air supply, filtration, and humidity control. Contributing to IAQ is one of our responsibilities.
Your indoor air quality partner
Belimo promises to be a trusted indoor air quality partner, and supply reliable and energy-efficient HVAC solutions that provide comfort, safety and high quality system performance. We work together with our customers as a team to deliver results that meet the needs of every project – big or small. This collaborative approach is one of the many reasons we have become a trusted name worldwide, and a market leader in HVAC field devices.
Products for better indoor air quality
Ensuring the quality of indoor air requires a multipronged approach. Besides precise system design and regular maintenance, reliable products which can be seamlessly integrated into building management systems and IoT platform are essential. Belimo offers a complete and innovative range of HVAC control devices to maintain healthy indoor air quality without compromising energy efficiency.
Discover products for healthy indoor air quality:
|Indoor Air Quality Duct Sensors
|Measurement of Temperature, humidity, enthalpy, dew point,CO2, and VOC
|Shop Duct Sensors
|Measurement of temperature, humidity, dew point, and CO2
|Shop Room Sensors
|Air Pressure Sensorsand Switches
|Measurement ofdifferential pressure and volumetric flow
|Shop Pressure Sensorsand Switches
|Measurement and control of volumetric flow
|Shop VAV Solution
|Motorization of air dampers
|Shop Damper Actuators
|Certified energy measurement and controls
|Shop Energy Valves
Effortless indoor air quality control with IoTs
Emch+Berger ImmoConsult AG, Zürich (Switzerland)
In 2020, real estate company Emch+Berger ImmoConsult AG needed a modern solution to control indoor air quality with HVAC systems in its brand new Zürich offices. Find out how Belimo’s HVAC components were installed with IoT support for hassle-free building automation, creating a comfortable working environment.
An individualised patient experience
University Hospital, Zürich (Switzerland)
In 2019, the University Hospital Zürich (UHZ) commissioned a temporary building with specialised burn wards. The organisation wanted to equip each room with separate control loops to allow individual adjustment of humidity and temperature to meet the needs of each patient. Find out how the installation of Belimo components achieved this under the time pressures and other challenges of a hospital setting.
The future of comfort in the virtual world
Liuzhou SoReal Spiral Paradise (China)
During development, the first virtual reality (VR) theme park in South China faced the challenge of maintaining indoor air quality for all visitors in its active arenas. Instead of calling game over, the company leveled up by installing over 100 Belimo sensors and energy valves as part of a state-of-the-art HVAC system, allowing system parameters to be adjusted to fluctuations in the volume of people and level of activity. This provided dynamic control of air quality, energy efficiency and thermal comfort throughout the building.
The "sweet spot" for indoor air humidity is 40 to 60%, as this dramatically reduces the transmission risk of diseases, and enables the body to better repair and protect itself.
At air humidity below 40%, the water droplets with viruses become smaller and can travel through large open office spaces and survive for hours. Furthermore, many bacteria and viruses become more virulent when exposed to dry air. If the indoor relative humidity is above 60%, mold and mildew begin to form and these can pose health problems.
CO2 concentration of more than 1000 ppm (parts per million) decreases the brain's ability to concentrate; starting at 2000 ppm and higher, it can lead to fatigue or even headaches. CO2 level in indoor air is an excellent indicator of space usage and occupancy and therefore an indirect way of potential bio-contamination, such as COVID-19 viruses. If the CO2 value is high due to increased occupancy and limited air exchange, there is a high potential risk from infectious aerosols.
As air circulation does not filter the air nor supply fresh air into the room, it is not a good solution either. On the contrary, strong unfiltered air movements further spread particles and pathogens within the space. A ventilation system with central air conditioning is needed to provide fresh, filtered, and conditioned air to the zones.
Air handling units usually supply air to several zones in a building. It is important that each room receives the exact amount of fresh air it needs. If the number of people in a room increases, e.g., in a larger meeting room, you would expect the air supply to increase accordingly. Similarly, the polluted air must also be removed from the room. To ensure this, zones and rooms must be supplied individually with variable air volume (VAV) based on air quality measurements.
The polluted and contaminated air must be removed from the room. It is important that each room receives the exact amount of fresh air it needs to prevent an increase in the concentration of infectious aerosols. To ensure this, zones and rooms must be supplied individually with variable air volume (VAV).
To prevent contaminants from entering indoor spaces through supply air ducts, suitable filters must be integrated into the air handling unit and must be replaced when the contamination of the filter increases. Pressure sensors and dynamic airflow measurements can be used to measure the degree of usage or contamination of the filters.
Central air handling units (AHUs) and air distribution systems can centrally control the quality of the supplied air at any time. Temperature, humidity, and air quality sensors permanently measure the conditions of the supplied air and deviations are instantly detected and corrected.
Indoor air quality can be measured either in the room or in the extract (return) air duct. Measuring the supply air doesn't reflect the indoor air quality situation in the room, but the fresh and conditioned air supplied by the air handling unit.
If the indoor air quality is measured in the room, attention must be paid to the mounting location to ensure proper and correct measurement. The installation should be at a height of around 1.5m (5 feet) and at least 50cm (20 inches) from the adjacent wall. It should not be exposed to direct sunlight nor mounted on external walls. Furthermore, avoid installations above radiators, directly adjacent to doors, in recesses (e.g. shelves) and behind curtains.
Alternatively, the measurement can take place in the duct which extracts the used air from the room. While the correct placement of a room sensor requires more attention, the advantage over a duct sensor is that, thanks to its exposure to the occupants, it allows direct, visual, thermal and indoor air quality feedback by means of a display or a traffic light indication.
Join our indoor air quality training and webinars
The objective of our HVAC webinars and training programs is to further educate seasoned service technicians, facility managers, distributors, control contractors, and building owners on IAQ real-world problems and solutions as well as the importance of occupancy health and efficient system performance. Our offerings are organised and held worldwide.
Videos about IAQ
Making the invisible visible – First WHO Europe Indoor Air Conference
The awareness of the impact of healthy indoor air quality on building inhabitants is constantly increasing. Belimo was pleased to co-sponsor the first Indoor Air Conference hosted by WHO Europe, the Swiss Government and the Geneva Health Forum in Bern on September 20th, 2023. Leading experts, scientists and decision-makers from the fields of environmental technology, health and indoor air research as well as government representatives discussed the pivotal role of indoor air quality on our health.
The conference documentation, including scientific presentations and background articles, is available here:
First WHO Europe Indoor Air Conference Resources (genevahealthforum.com)
Television broadcast by Nano on how healthy indoor air can reduce health risks:
Wie Luft krank macht - Saubere Innenraumluft kann Krankheiten verhindern - Wissen - SRF
(available in German only)