Air, one of the most important components of life. We need air every single day, hour, minute and second to keep functioning as happy human beings. Yet as we look at the air today it is becoming more and more polluted.

By now we know that introducing more CO2, NOx, and other volatile gasses in the atmosphere with our industries, cars, planes is bad for humans as well as the entire ecosystem. As the awareness grows, and the problem becomes apparent, it is time to look at solutions. We need healthy air around us to stay healthy.

More and more areas of the world become developed, and as an area becomes richer the jobs tend to move inside. In The Netherlands we spend a large portion of our day inside, some days people rarely smell the outside world. So how good is the air indoors? And shouldn't this be healthy as we spend the majority of our time there? This is the reason I started the clean indoor air quality project, to find out if I can create a healthier indoor environment for everyone.

Project Title:

Clean Indoor Air Quality (working title)

Description:

Combine understanding air quality with improving air quality. To measure as much as possible about the air: its properties, consistency, particles and healthiness, by using a measurement station. Then improve the conditions by introducing plants and mechanical solutions.

Origins

The project started with the idea of plants cleaning my bedroom. As I live in Amsterdam, next to a medium traffic road, my windows are covered in dark matter. The first two years I didn't think much of it, and about 8 months ago I decided to clean the windows. Within a month or two my windows where black again. At the same time I moved to a new office where I always ended up with a headache at the end of the day. Increasingly I wondered what caused this? Was is the lack of oxygen? Or lack of plants? Bad ventilation?

I started my quest, and realised I spend a lot of time in my (bed)room. I live in a shared house, so the (bed)room is also where I spend most of my evenings after work and weekends. I got curious if plants could clean or atleast improve the air quality. Research learned that plants could indeed improve performance, but where limited. I realised I had to start by finding out point zero, the current situation in my room and work from there.

The idea

In order to find out the current situation I need to start measuring the air quality. Only then I am able to see how much plants can solve and how much I need mechanical tools such as filters and humidifiers. The current concept is a combination of a measurements station, green wall and potentially some other things all connected to each other.

I am stil at the start of the concept, although I have the parts for my measurement station I still need to figure out what to measure. I also need to find out the "perfect" air quality metrics, so I know where to aim for. I need to figure out exactly the plant combination based on the situation.

The current status

Work has started on designing and building the measurement station. I have ordered parts from all over the world to measure CO2, NOx, particle count, volitile gases, temperature, humidity and a whole range of other properties. Currently I am using a arduino as my base station and have managed to plug serveral of my sensors onto the system and log their readings.

A lot of work remains on the measuring station, such as the 3D design of the station and more importantly how I will calibrarte most of the sensors. A lot of the mare cheap sensors that need calibration with more expensive equipment in order to produce correct readings. In addition I started working on this project page, which is just a quick first draft. I want to create a more elaborate page in the future, once I have a functioning measuring station.

In the short term I want to start creating blog posts about my experience with the arduino and its sensors. To calibrate the system I will need to find people with the right equipment, so I will start reaching out to different places in Amsterdam. Including places that might be able to help me create or 3D print the casing of the station.