- Main goal: Improve air quality in school classrooms using IoT.
- A combined software/hardware project, which includes everything from the inception of the idea, development, to the go-to-market strategy.
- 6 months from the very first idea to the first deployment and pilot installations — spring 2017 to fall 2017.
- The project is now deployed, maintained and ready for continuous improvement.
Problem: Air quality in school classrooms is insufficient. How can IoT help with this issue?
As many schools strive to improve energy efficiency through weatherization, the risk of CO2 buildup in closed rooms has become an issue. A particular German study noted that during winter, 92% of classrooms have CO2 levels above a safe level some time during the year. Higher CO2 concentrations lead to lower concentration, reduced ability to learn, increased fatigue, and chronic health problems. Together with humidity temperature levels, CO2 is the most important air quality indicator that determines our comfort and our ability to focus and receive new information, which is crucial at school.
While it is very expensive to solve this problem technologically and automatically via ventilation systems, there is a simpler solution. Just to open the window and let the fresh air circulate more frequently — something people can easily do, but usually forget about.
The goal was clear. Use modern technology for real-time monitoring of air quality in the classroom and trigger an alert when air quality goes bad.
- We decided the project must be useful for kids in the first place. We really wanted to improve the time spent in school.
- Installation and usage must be as user friendly as possible, and installation must be affordable even for small schools.
- We wanted to use as much existing Energomonitor infrastructure as possible. Everything that can be used from Energomonitor system will be used. We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel.
Key development steps
- Healthy School is a set of smart devices that are, together with an app, able to continuously monitor air quality in classrooms and give live feedback and notifications to kids and teachers.
- There are more ways to get feedback: in the app, by seeing live values on the display, or by being notified by a sound made by sensor itself.
- As the system is receiving data continuously, it is possible to make long-term data analysis about the air quality of school. This information could be used by the school administration or parents.
- For data collection we use Energomonitor Airsense sensors. Airsense monitors CO2, humidity and temperature levels. There is one sensor per classroom.
- For the purpose of the Healthy School project we designed a brand new playful canary chassis for the Airsense sensors. We didn’t want to install boring generic boxes.
- Installation and maintenance of the sensors is easy and trivial. Airsense sensors are 100% wireless and can be attached to any magnetic surface. They are battery-powered with more than 1 year life for one set of batteries. Recalibration is necessary every 6 months, which means exposing the sensor to fresh outside air for few minutes.
- All these Airsense sensors send data to our cloud through the Energomonitor gateway. Up to 30 sensors can be paired to one gateway, so it is possible to cover an entire school with one gateway.
- The Energomonitor Portasight display can improve the installation with the ability to display live values.
- We developed a dedicated Healthy school app on top of the Energomonitor data collection, processing and storage backend.
- The Healthy school app reads data through the Energomonitor API and uses it for its own visualization of current values and history, alert system and user management.
- No one has to actively interpret the collected data. A warming that air quality is poor is shown automatically if values exceed an unhealthy level.
- Healthy School uses affordable smart devices for creating a balance between a healthy environment in the classroom and the cost of heating. With Healthy School, heating and cooling costs kept are as low as possible, while childrens’ health is still the number one priority.
- The project exists in two language versions so far. English Healthy School and Czech Zdravá třída.
- Right now project is in the pilot stage in some selected Czech schools and we are collecting feedback for prioritization of the next steps and improvements.