Are our homes trying to kill us?

On the 9th of June, we attended an interesting talk “Is your home trying to kill you?” at UCLan hosted by Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Architectural Technology Ann Vanner. Ann presented on how we can improve the air quality in our homes and why clean air is so important to our health. For example, did you know that poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK? long-term exposure to air pollution can cause chronic conditions that ultimately lead to reduced life expectancy.

To support the presentation, IoT Horizon provided Ann with 4 Environmental Sensors to collect real-time air quality data in her home. Ann used the data as part of her presentation. The sensors measured:


  • Temperature and humidity (how comfortable the room is)
  • Airborne chemicals and formaldehydes
  • Particulates (dust, pollen, car pollution)
  • Noise and Occupancy
  • Carbon dioxide (a measure of how fresh the air is)


During the event ‘Is your home trying to kill you?’, Ann discussed how greatly our lives are impacted by our homes. For example, we spend 90% of our time indoors and in the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air. Therefore, Ann explored in detail how our indoor spaces affect our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.

Ann’s goal was to inform the audience that there are aspects of our homes that are out of our control. For example, what building materials are made from, and what is used to insulate our homes. Therefore, she stressed the importance of looking after what we do have control over such as how we heat our homes, Carbon dioxide levels and air quality. She explained how paying attention to these aspects of our homes correctly, can ultimately protect our health.

Furthermore, Ann took us on a ‘exploration’ through a typical home in the North West and explained where problems can occur and how we can effectively solve them. In this part of the talk, Ann used the sensor data from her home to demonstrate the importance of capturing data.

Below is a graph displaying data from the master bedroom in Anne’s house, the CO2 levels show the effects of two people occupying the room at night Friday eve to Monday morning.


CO2 Monitoring


The sensors also demonstrated the effects of cooking on air quality. When Ann would cook in the evenings, there would be a spike in CO2 levels in the kitchen area.


A month of data from Ann’s kitchen (averaged by week), showing levels of CO2, ppm (upper) and particulates, PM10 (lower). Her regular evening meal preparation time is highlighted. The likely cause of the peaks is the use of gas hobs.

Ann brought a strong passion which encouraged us to make a positive change to our everyday environments. For example, after attending Anne’s talk, at IoT Horizon we will hopefully be investing in some spider plants for our office in Rawtenstall. This is because, we learned that spider plants can remove around 90% of formaldehyde from the air.

After listening to the lecture, we can now hopefully start to achieve healthier homes and healthier people.

If you would like to learn more, or want to start monitoring the air quality of your building contact us at




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