Rotronic Case Study: Belimo enhances human performance by monitoring CO2 levels
Products & Services | Rotronic AG
Swiss-based environmental measurement specialist Rotronic has produced a case study on the benefits of monitoring environmental air quality on human and organizational performance. The case study, conducted at Swiss-based actuator and valve specialist Belimo Automation AG (Belimo) shows clear benefits from proactively monitoring levels of carton dioxide (CO2) and maintaining them at optimal levels.
All organizations are familiar with the ‘post lunch syndrome’ where performance, energy and creativity in meetings and working sessions fall away noticeably. In most cases, this is a direct result of the poor quality of the air in the room.
In an enclosed room, some 25 to 35 cubic meters of fresh air per person per hour are needed, given normal activities. This ensures that the CO2 content remains below 1,000ppm (ppm = parts per million [value of the proportion of carbon dioxide in the air]), and that the volatile substances exuded by humans are extracted to a sufficient degree. By comparison, the CO2 concentration in outdoor air is around 400ppm.
The CO2 concentration is a good indication of the quality of the air in a room. The consumption of air rises particularly quickly in meetings, with many people in small rooms. By the time we notice that the air feels ‘stale’ or ‘stuffy’, productivity has already declined.
World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recognize the right of every worker to healthy indoor air quality. In the case of workplaces, the labor laws require that air quality and room climate must not represent a health hazard for employees. However, in the private sector, there are no regulations, and the owner is responsible.
Martin Bänninger, director of the SVLW (Swiss association for air and water hygiene), explains: “Most Cantonal building laws, or municipal building regulations, state the principle that a building must not endanger life or health of the building‘s users.”
Buildings must conform to building trade standards, directives and bulletins, which in Switzerland are primarily described in SIA and SWKI.
Air quality at Belimo
Belimo Automation AG is based at Hinwil, where Swiss Cantonal building regulations require energy-efficient buildings. This requirement can be met only when the buildings are airtight. Consequently, free exchange of air (e.g., by opening external windows or doors) becomes problematic.
Furthermore, adequate outside air quality cannot be taken for granted, especially in densely built-up areas, making normal ventilation through the windows of limited value.
The burden therefor falls on climate-regulating systems to ensure good air quality in modern buildings.
Building owners and ventilation planners should therefore conform to the specifications in the SWKI Directives Hygiene requirements for room air systems and devices – starting with the positioning of the air intake, through the controls of the ventilation and heating systems to the instruction of the occupiers. In the case of more complex systems, the responsibilities for surveillance and maintenance must also be clearly defined.
“The maintenance of the system should have high priority,” said Alfred Freitag, Sales Manager for Switzerland at Belimo Automation AG.
“To keep the ventilation systems functioning reliably, and to keep them hygienic, they must be carefully planned, constructed, regulated and maintained,” Mr. Freitag explained
Maintenance requires constant real time air quality monitoring, using CO2 sensors.
Belimo policy is that meetings should be interrupted if CO2 concentrations exceed 1,200 ppm and the room should be ventilated. The CO2 content in the air then drops rapidly, and productivity increases again.
Uncomfortable situations like this need not arise. CO2 displays by Rotronic make it easy to measure air quality, and the results can be used to initiate the appropriate measures.
Installation and use of Rotronic CO2 Display
Rotronic CO2 displays can be used to monitor these ventilation systems, the data being read out via USB stick when necessary.
Data monitoring was a key factor in Belimo’s decision to opt for Rotronic CO2 displays. As Alfred Freitag explained: “Visualization of the measured data was very important to us. They are simple and clear to read on the Rotronic display. In addition, the Rotronic display permits global assessment of the air. It measures CO2, humidity and temperature. This allows suitable countermeasures to be taken.” Service quality and assurance were also important considerations.
“We were very expertly advised by Rotronic CEO Michael Taraba. He took care of our needs personally. In addition, the Hitherto, Rotronic has proved a very reliable partner,” said Mr. Freitag.
The wall-mounted or bench-top Rotronic CO2 display is an inexpensive display unit that simultaneously measures and records CO2, along with relative humidity and temperature. Equipped with the field-tested and proven ROTRONIC HYGROMER® IN-1 humidity sensor, this instrument offers unbeatable value for money. The instrument can be configured directly with buttons, and stored data can be exported to a USB stick for analysis with the free Rotronic software package SW21.
The display unit is ideally suited to monitoring Indoor air quality in classrooms, meeting rooms, open-plan offices, retail and fitness environments.
- Accuracy ±2.5 %RH / ±0.3 K / ±30 ppm + 5% of measured value
- ROTRONIC HYGROMER® IN-1 humidity sensor
- 18,000 data point memory for CO2, humidity and temperature values
- Display of date and time
- Adjustable, visual CO2 indicator
- Large, easy-to-read display
- USB access for data download
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