The recently announced Green Homes Grant is a chance for the UK Government to put indoor air quality on a par with other health and environmental efforts, claims BRS Technology, the Scottish IoT sensor company.

As part of the Green Homes Grant scheme, eligible homeowners will be able to use £5,000 – £10,000 vouchers to help pay for environmentally friendly improvements such as installing loft, floor and wall insulation or double-glazing. But it’s only for England.

Details of the full list of potential improvements are still being finalised but BRS Director Raymond McGurk believes indoor air quality improvements should also be factored in.

“Indoor air quality is a vital part of the environment”

He said: “Environment is not just about the outdoors, it’s also about the indoors, especially when you consider how much time people spent indoors during lockdown and days with poor weather.

“Air quality is a huge contributing factor to a person’s indoor environment.”

BRS, based in Glasgow but operating across the UK, uses innovative tools, software, machine learning and AI to improve indoor air quality in social housing, private homes and offices across the UK. 

The sensors – which detect and predict issues associated with air quality, humidity and dampness amongst other issues – work across the Internet of Things (IoT) sending information to the BRS data management system.

CO2’s negative impact on concentration and alertness

McGurk added: “Poor indoor air quality impacts personal wellbeing, increasing risk of health impacts such as asthma attacks, ability to concentrate on working from home

“In addition to the health impact this has a detrimental impact on homes, creating condensation, mould and dampness issues.

“So you have those issues to consider as well as any gases or chemical compounds coming in from outdoors. If we are concerned about outdoor air quality, we should be treating indoor air quality with the same level of seriousness.”

McGurk believes there is a huge opportunity here to improve health by simple steps.

Our sensors and monitoring showed air quality issues rising during the first lockdown and if there is a second lockdown – either across the UK, Scotland or a more regional/city level – in winter, not only will levels rise again, but they may rise more because it will be in winter and people don’t want to open windows as much.

“That’s why it is imperative that not only is indoor air quality considered an environmental issue, but that the green home initiative is rolled out across all of the UK.

“Indoor air quality is a growing concern and we’ve already asked the Climate Emergency Response Group in Scotland to make it more of a focus in their environment regeneration plans.”

Better indoor air quality means less mould or damp – and more concentration

He added: “Improved indoor air quality means there is less chance of a house having damp or mould – something that is still a big issues across the UK, across both private and social housing.

“There’s a huge opportunity here for the country to be at the front of this issue – but only if the Chancellor makes air quality a larger part of the grant and it is available across the UK. The PM has been visiting Scotland and saying it is important, well here’s a chance for him to prove it and show the health of Scots matters to him by finding a way to make this a UK level grant.”

The Green Homes Grant scheme will be launched in September 2020 with full details to be announced soon.

Notes to editors: 
CO2 is normally measured in ppm – parts per million.

Outdoor CO2 levels are around 405ppm, with large open office spaces nearer 600-1000ppm depending on size – though small meetings rooms with poor ventilation can reach 3000ppm.
The average home normally has a ppm between 500 and 1000ppm depending on air flow and build. 
Too much CO2 has a negative effect on comfort, health and performance and can be significant as humidity and temperature. 

  • Research has indicated that Carbon Dioxide exceeding 800-1000 ppm will result in a range of health and comfort factors, including headache, fatigue, eye symptoms, nasal symptoms and respiratory tract symptoms. 
  • At 2000 – 5000ppm sleepiness and stagnant, stale, stuffy air become issues, leading to Ppoor concentration, loss of attention, increased heart rate and slight nausea may also be present.
  • Productivity has also been shown to reduce by 30% with regards to an individual’s cognitive processes. 
  • High CO2 can contribute to mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression.
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