Awair Element uses state-of-the-art sensing technology to continuously monitor temperature, humidity, CO2, and volatile organic compound (tVOC), and fine dust PM2.5 levels. Our chemical sensors measure the aggregate number of VOCs, which includes both formaldehyde and benzene, but for a complete list see our dedicated VOC article. All measurements are displayed in the Awair App.
From medical and academic research, we have estimated a range of optimal values for these key environmental factors: temperature (22 ̊C - 26 ̊C, or 71.6 ̊F - 78.8 ̊F), humidity (40% - 50%),CO2 ( ) and chemicals (<333ppb) and fine dust ( ). The Awair Score provides an at-a-glance assessment of your air quality, on a simple 0 to 100 scale. When these five environmental factors deviate outside our recommended ranges, the Awair Score decreases.
The temperature index is designed to help you maximize occupant comfort and productivity. Index 1, the optimal index, spans a range of 22-26°C (71.6-78.8°F). An indoor temperature either above or below this range will bring the reading into a higher index and decrease Awair Element’s Awair Score.
Humidity has a significant impact on comfort, respiratory health, and productivity. Humidity levels between 40-50% are considered optimal. This range is recommended especially for those with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory illnesses. Maintaining humidity within these levels can also minimize the growth and spread of mold, viruses, and bacteria.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important consideration when it comes to comfort and productivity. Air with high levels of CO2 can lead to difficulty concentrating, decreased cognitive ability, and fatigue. Typically, CO2 levels outdoors are around 400 parts per million (ppm), thus the lowest level achievable indoors is around 400 ppm. Concentrations below 600 ppm are considered ideal for a healthy and productive workspace.
Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs) are a diverse group of chemicals that are commonly found in the air in homes and offices. They are both naturally occurring and manmade. TVOCs can be found in most manufactured goods as well as common cleaners, paint, upholstery, sealants, and pressed wood. Unlike other chemicals in the air, TVOCs are generally measured as a cohesive group because of their cumulative effect on health and comfort.
TVOCs can have a wide range of health effects. Moderate levels of exposure can cause headaches, fatigue, allergic skin reactions, eye and throat irritation, and other symptoms that can affect comfort, concentration, and productivity. Higher concentrations have been associated with more severe health consequences such as cognitive impairment, overworked liver and kidneys, and even cancer. It’s important to try to minimize the amount of TVOCs in your environment and maintain levels under 65 parts per billion (ppb).
Fine Dust PM2.5
There are two primary classifications of particulate matter: PM2.5 and PM10. PM2.5 is any particulate matter that is 2.5 microns or smaller, while PM10 is any particulate matter that is 10 microns or smaller. Dust is a primary trigger for allergy and asthma attacks, as well as eczema flare-ups. It can also worsen the symptoms of chronic and acute bronchitis.
Particles that are 2.5 microns in width are able to permeate membranous tissue and travel deep into the respiratory tract and bloodstream, causing short-term irritation and potential long-term health effects, including respiratory problems, heart disease, and cancer. Alternatively, particles that are 10 microns in width primarily irritate the upper respiratory tract, aggravating allergies and asthma, and cause other health concerns. While both PM2.5 and PM10 have a negative impact on your health, PM2.5 can stay suspended in the air for a much longer period and can cause more severe health effects in the long-term.
Minimizing dust is essential for healthy air quality; try to maintain dust levels below 15 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3).