There is a lot of talk now about CO2 because wherever many people share a room, the air can get thick. It is mostly the exhaled carbon dioxide (CO2) to blame and wherever people are, they breathe and thus emit CO2. It’s part of our everyday life, and it’s vital now to pay attention to the issue of indoor CO2. Humans release CO2 emissions simply by exhaling. CO2 monitoring is a simple way to check the quality of your indoor air, wherever you are.
When seated, a person exhales an average of around 15-20 litres of air per hour, thereby adding more than a hundred times the amount of CO2. The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a single person adds up to the amount a small car emits over a distance of ten kilometres per day. What do you think happens in a crowded place with everyone exhaling that amount?
It’s time to monitor the CO2 concentration in schools and classrooms, in offices and conference rooms or in passive and low-energy houses. CO2 monitors make a decisive contribution to indoor air quality.
CO2 as an indicator of indoor air quality
But how do you know when the air is really bad? Your own feelings and sentences like “the air is stuffy” usually come much too late. Depending on the number of people in the room, the indoor air quality can decrease significantly and rapidly. The actual oxygen content in the air is normally 21%, that of CO2 is significantly less, around 0.04%. (400 ppm) Even just one person can cause the CO2 content in the air to rise from the stated amount to 1,000 ppm within 45 minutes.
Basically, the CO2 concentration and the closely related indoor air quality depend on the following circumstances:
- Room occupancy
- Room size
- Ventilation situation
- Duration of the use of the room
- Number of people
- User activity
Higher concentrations are also possible through:
- Smoking tobacco
- Open oil and gas lights
- Open flames
- Technical systems i.e. Printers
- Fermentation processes
In closed rooms where many people sit, the oxygen content is quickly used up. A CO2 monitor indicates when this is the case.
How high can the CO2 value be indoors?
The Federal Environment Agency classifies the CO2 content indoors according to the following values.
- High indoor air quality:up to 800 ppm
- Average indoor air quality:800 to 1,000 ppm
- Moderate indoor air quality:1,000 to 1,400 ppm
- Low indoor air quality:Over 1,400 ppm
Effects of CO2 on health
Pollutants such as carbon dioxide in the air we breathe represent one of the five greatest risks to public health. They lead to complaints such as tiredness, poor concentration and loss of productivity. These symptoms appear long before you consciously notice bad air or an excessively high concentration of CO2 in the air you breathe.
CO₂ concentrations and possible effects
Too much CO2 in the room air can not only lead to severe headaches, a drop in performance, poor concentration, increased infections and increased breathing frequency. Too high a concentration can be even more dangerous for humans. At over 100,000 ppm, nausea and vomiting, even shortness of breath or even loss of consciousness can occur. If the amount of CO2 in the room air rises to over 200,000 ppm, this can, in the worst case, lead to death.
The effects of too much carbon dioxide in the air were known early on. Miners were already aware of the possible dangers and took a candle underground for protection. If this went out, it was a sign of a too high CO2 level (approx. 100,000 ppm) and the alerted them that their lives were in danger. No candles needed now with efficient and accurate CO2 monitors on hand.
Depending on the intensity of the use of a room, the amount of carbon dioxide in the room air increases and the quality of it deteriorates considerably. The human body needs oxygen to function properly, and too much CO2 in the air prevents the body from absorbing oxygen. Sufficient quality, with the help of monitoring room air inside buildings, is therefore essential.
CO₂ Monitoring and Reducing CO₂
To ensure adequate indoor air quality, CO2 monitoring in buildings and interiors should be considered, both in offices, classrooms, daycare centres, hospitals, fitness studios and other public buildings, as well as in private living rooms and houses. There are various options for CO2 measurements in buildings and interiors. Ventilation systems or automatic ventilation systems that exchange and filter the air are recommended for measurements and additional automatic air exchange when the CO2 content in the room air is too high
Covid-19 and CO2
A CO2 measuring device cannot measure coronaviruses or aerosols. It shows the value of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air and is therefore an indicator of the quality of the indoor air. However, since coronaviruses mainly spread in poorly ventilated rooms and thus the risk of infection increases, the measuring devices are a good way of checking the air in a room. Regular ventilation is one of the most important measures to remove potentially contagious aerosols from the room.
It’s a primary reason why the government is now funding all schools with CO2 monitors.
The risk of infection increases with amplified carbon dioxide content. Where there is a high concentration of CO2 there are a particularly large number of aerosols and germs. Scientists investigated the risk of infection with flu; 30 people were in a classroom in which one person had an acute flu for four hours. The result confirmed a higher risk of infection if the CO2 level was too high. Five people were infected at 1,000 ppm, 12 at 2,000 ppm and 15 people at 3,000 ppm.
CO2 is not the only criterion for a health assessment, but it is an important indicator for the overall situation. An air exchange helps to counteract the risk of too much CO2 concentration in the air we breathe.
In the cold season in particular, the windows are opened less often for ventilation. Germs and aerosols that can stay in the air for a particularly long time, for several hours, feel even more comfortable in the centrally heated air and spread throughout the premises. During a flu epidemic and pandemic, particular care should be taken to ventilate regularly. This creates an exchange of air that reduces the spread of viruses and germs and thus also lowers the risk of infection.
This can be counteracted by increased ventilation and monitoring with air purification or air filters. Too much CO2 is a warning that the room needs to be ventilated or have an air purifier or air treatment system activated.
CO2 measurement technology and measuring devices
At ECO Industry Solutions you have a range of measuring devices for monitoring the CO2 concentration in buildings and interiors such as classrooms, meeting rooms and all places where people are regularly present.
In times of the COVID-19, fresh, healthy air is crucial for a safe stay in closed rooms. As the CO2 concentration rises, so does the number of aerosols in the room air and thus the risk of a virus infection – it takes time to ventilate! Stay in control now with the new Eco Industry Solutions CO2 monitors: