What we did:
Pure Skies air cleaners were installed across a total of 45,00 sq. ft. spread over 3 floors in a busy office in central Mumbai. Indoor air quality was poor, due to high levels of particulate pollutants (PM2.5 and PM10) and carbon dixoide (CO2).
COVID-19 induced social distancing and limited occupancy norms have changed the way offices work. But it does not change the effect air pollution has on our bodies and how efficient we are in office.
One of Devic Earth’s customers, a large department store with multiple stores across India, wanted an indoor air purification solution for their head office in Mumbai. The customer had several requirements:
The entire indoor area of the office should be covered (3 floors, with 15,000 sq. ft. per floor)
In addition to common air pollutants such as PM10 and PM2.5, the solution should also handle indoor carbon dioxide (CO2)
The solution should be cost effective
The air quality recorded at an office during the time of study was poor. Levels of particulate pollutants – PM2.5 and PM10 – were 88 and 110μg/m3, respectively,This exceeds levels of the National Ambient Air Quality (NAAQ) standards (PM2.5 < 60 μg/m3&PM10 < 100 μg/m3).
Indoor CO2 levels at the office were 1012 parts per million (ppm), averaged across 24 hours. Normally, indoor CO2 levels should be less than 1000 ppm. Above this level, CO2 can cause fatigue, loss in concentration drowsiness, etc.
However, during working hours, CO2 levels would routinely exceed 1,400 ppm or more!
In other words, the employees were working in an office with unhealthy levels of pollution. It was no wonder their health and productivity were taking a hit.
Two Pure Skies 3000 base stations and several extenders were installed across three floors in the office. The system was configured to handle particulate pollutants (PM10, PM2.5) and gaseous pollutants (CO2 and carbon monoxide).
To quantify the air pollution levels and understand trends, air quality monitoring was performed for a period of 7-days (baseline period) prior to Pure Skies being powered on, then continuously thereafter.
The pollutant levels were monitored using a third-party air quality monitor (Ambee Pvt Ltd, Bengaluru) at each location to help the customer understand the efficacy of Pure Skies, as well as to provide real time data for optimizing the smart technology in each Pure Skies unit.
It took just one afternoon to complete the installation, covering an area of 45,000 sq. ft in total. Equipment was plugged in and connected to the local GSM network (Airtel).
Power requirements: Routine power supply (ordinary 10A sockets). Each base station and air quality monitor comes with battery backup.
Space requirements: Just 2 sq. ft. of floor space for each of the two base stations.
Once online, the performance of each air pollution control unit is monitored by Devic Earth 24x7.
Pure Skies' built in smart technology allows each unit to understand air quality patterns at its location and optimize its output accordingly.
During the baseline, the 24-hour average levels of two types of particle pollutants - PM2.5 & PM10 - were high: 88±15 and 110±16 μg/m3. CO2 levels were 1012 ppm on average (recommended levels are less than 1100 ppm). However, during the working day, levels of CO2 would routinely exceed 1400 ppm or more.
After Pure Skies was powered On, a steady improvement was observed in the air quality.
At the end of the three months Pure Skies-On period, the levels of PM2.5 and PM10 were reduced by 44% &43%, respectively (Figure 1).
Average pollutant levels and % reduction at an office in Mumbai. The red and green bars are the pure skies-Off (14-days) and Pure Skies-On periods (30-days), respectively. The successive green bars depict the incremental decrease in the levels of the pollutants over 30-day intervals. Data source: 3rd party air quality monitor (Ambee Pvt. Ltd.), pre-calibrated against a reference grade monitor.
Indoor CO2 levels after two weeks of Pure Skies-On period were reduced by 24% (Figure 2).
Average CO2 levels and % reduction at office in Mumbai. The red and green bars are the Pure Skies-Off (7 days) and Pure Skies-On periods (14-days), respectively. Data source: 3rd party air quality monitor (Ambee Pvt. Ltd.), pre-calibrated against a reference grade monitor
What’s the value of cleaner air to you?
Reduced sick days
Cleaner air means a stronger immune system. A study from several of Devic Earth’s customers showed sick days reduce by 11-13% year-on-year after installing Pure Skies!
Worker productivity drops by 1% for every increase in PM2.5 levels by 10 mcg/m3, according to researchers from Columbia University. For a typical factory with PM2.5 levels averaging 50-60 mcg/m3, that’s like watching productivity drop by 1-2%!
Improving air quality index (AQI) to less than 50 improves the productivity of employees by 5-6%, which in turn increases the profitability of the company by 1%, according to a study published in the Harvard Business Review.
Air pollution and COVID-19
Harvard researchers have found that long-term exposure to PM2.5 is associated with worsened severity of COVID-19 infection symptoms and an increased risk of death. An increase of 1 mg/m3 in long-term PM2.5 exposure is associated with a 15% increase in the COVID-19 mortality rate.
Clean air gives you two important but overlooked benefits in cutting costs: Increased productivity, and reduced days lost due to illness. If that’s not good business sense, then we don’t know what is!