Indoor air quality for health and vertical farming in Colorado

GREENandSAVE staff

Posted on Friday 8th July 2022
Indoor air quality for Colorado

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COVID-19 woke up America and the world to the need for improved indoor air quality

IAQ Technologies LLC is your “One-Stop-Shop” for proven and cost effective germicidal disinfection of air and surfaces across the commercial and residential landscape. We also provide Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to further help reduce the spread of Covid-19 and future viruses. In short, we focus on creating safe, healthy, and also energy efficient “smart” properties. We have developed a consortium of industry professionals, manufacturers, and installers, so that we can recommend and provide the most appropriate disinfection solutions for a diverse range of facilities in the US and around the world. We also offer $0 upfront cost options and turn-key projects that include rebate administration for the growing number of incentives launched following the Covid-19 outbreak. Beyond buildings, indoor air quality is very important for Controlled Environment Agriculture, and specifically advanced Vertical Farming

To learn more about indoor air quality in Colorado and other states,  Contact Indoor Air Quality team. 

Here is an example of Indoor air quality information for Colorado:

Amid wildfires and a pandemic, here’s how to keep your indoor air clean

It’s no secret: The air quality is bad in Colorado this summer.  

Thus far, the state has issued 59 Ozone Action Day alerts since May 31—the most in a single year since record-keeping began a decade ago. At least one day in August, Denver boasted the worst air quality of any major city in the world.

But what’s in that air?

“In the Front Range, we are mostly concerned about two types of air pollutants, especially in the summer: particulate matter and ozone. And then when you're indoors, there's now this extra concern about the COVID viruses spreading through the air,” said Marina Vance, an assistant professor in the Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering who was awarded an NSF CAREER Award to study how pollutants transform as they move between indoors and out.

So how do we keep ourselves healthy? 

“It can be overwhelming for people to figure out what the least risky situation is,” said Vance, who is also faculty in the environmental engineering program. “We're hoping that with some simple measures, people can alleviate some anxiety that's driven by this co-occurrence of the wildfires and COVID persisting.” 

On high ozone days, go inside and shut the windows

First, ozone—it’s been a big part of this summer’s air quality warnings. 

Ozone is a highly reactive gas that forms naturally in the Earth's upper atmosphere, where it protects us by reducing the amount of harmful UV radiation that reaches the Earth's surface. But when it forms closer to where we breathe, known as ground-level ozone, it can be harmful

Notably, it’s not emitted directly by any air pollution source: It forms in a chemical reaction between volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sunlight, and can be amplified by hot temperatures. Colorado’s abundance of sunlight and heat, combined with VOCs emitted from numerous chemical plants and gasoline pumps (among other sources), and NOx emitted from power plants and motor vehicles—of which Colorado has plenty—makes it a particular hot spot for ozone. 

This ground-level ozone doesn’t just gray our blue skies and obscure our beloved mountains. It doesn’t feel good to breathe. And studies suggest that chronic exposure to this pollutant can lead to lower birth weights, asthma and higher rates of premature death. 

Vance’s advice for high ozone days: Stay inside and close the windows and doors. 

“The ozone is so reactive it will react with the building exterior before it gets inside,” said Vance. 

While VOCs can make their way indoors (no building is completely airtight), ozone cannot form indoors because windows filter out the UV light needed to catalyze the chemical reaction. 

Can’t smell it? Don’t ignore it. 

While the air quality is worse this year compared to last year, there’s one major difference: We’re not smelling the smoke. 

This can lead people to underestimate just how bad the air quality is. If you wait until your eyes feel itchy, you start coughing, you smell it or see ash falling, you’re not paying enough attention, according to Vance. 

“Relying on smell to detect air pollution can be really deceiving,” said Vance. 

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