Author: Tom Allen, Software Developer at IoT Horizon:

During the pandemic, myself and my colleagues worked remotely. Much to my fiancée’s despair, my home office now looks like a demo suite from testing and integrating several IoT devices. When I started to test these devices, I learnt more about my home environment than I had anticipated and could see different patterns emerging.

Firstly, I noticed a spike in humidity every morning through IoT Horizons Platform, followed by, ten minutes later, a spike in Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs) and particulates. My fiancée, being very much a creature of habit, follows the same routine every morning, almost to the minute. This explained why the humidity spiked every morning coinciding with the shower being on. However, I wasn’t sure why the TVOCs and particulate readings were rising at the same time each day. The next day I decided to pay closer attention, and quickly figured out that it was due to her using deodorants, hair products, and perfume. These products were dramatically reducing the air quality in our already poorly ventilated house. The sensor, in a different room to my fiancé, was detecting these changes and from the data I could see that it was taking nearly an hour to return to normal. I decided to do some research and learnt that scented goods (including perfumes, hair sprays, air fresheners, and paints) emit the same number of chemical vapours as petroleum from vehicles 1 

The second thing I noticed was the CO₂ figure spiking during the day. As well as alerts through the platform, I could visually see a green, amber, or red LED light on the device depending on the quality of the air. The device kept displaying an amber or red light during the day which suggested the air quality was poor and I needed to ventilate the room. Yet there was only myself in the office, or so I thought…

I’d forgotten about the little hairy monster that covers my house in red fur, my Labrador puppy. The data showed that every time he was in the room, the CO₂ levels would spike over 1500ppm within a matter of minutes. Little did I know that an average-size dog emits 770 kg of CO₂e per year2. Thankfully he’s older now and doesn’t have to lie on my feet anymore, but it shows how quickly CO₂ can rise in poorly ventilated rooms which can potentially impact performance.

Indoor air quality has a significant impact on our health, wellbeing, and productivity. We are estimated to spend 90% of our time indoors (office, home, leisure activities, travelling etc). 3Studies have found that better indoor air quality, can improve productivity levels by 8-11%, so why aren’t more people measuring it? I hadn’t thought about the impact that my own home environment was having on my working day until I could see the data. I now make sure to open the windows more regularly (it’s still very cold).

My parting wisdom is that you don’t know what you don’t measure, so contact our team today, we’d love to help you collect the data!



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