Celebrating Clean Air Day 2022
This month we celebrated Clean Air Day 2022. Now in its sixth year, Clean Air Day is organised by the Global Action Plan charity and is the UK’s largest air pollution campaign, with the goal of bringing together businesses, the health sector, communities, and schools to raise awareness of air pollution and find practical solutions to this global issue.
This year the focus was placed on how clean air can not only have an environmental impact but also play a positive role in your overall health.
What does air quality and clean air have to do with my health?
Air pollution is widely regarded as the world’s largest environmental health threat. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), exposure to high levels of air pollution can cause a variety of adverse health outcomes. It increases the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease, and other severe illnesses. Both short- and long-term exposure to air pollutants has been associated with health impacts.
Public Health England estimates that long-term exposure to air pollution has an effect that is equivalent to 28,000 – 36,000 deaths annually, clearly illustrating the need for action.
Air Quality and Covid-19
Covid brought about an entirely unique situation when it came to the Covid-19 pandemic. One expected situation that came about was the high correlation between those contracting the virus and death rates, and the air pollution levels in their country.
Recently emerging evidence suggested that exposure to air pollution worsens the severity of COVID-19 on people’s health. Updated evidence on COVID-19 points to the need for improved air quality standards and a transition away from polluting fossil fuels.
However, it was observed from the beginning of worldwide lockdowns that we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions, air pollution, and noise levels by refraining from excessive travel. Whilst it is no longer attainable to expect individuals to remain at home, we do have a better picture of what the outcome would be if we used more carbon-efficient modes of transport.
So, what actions can be taken?
This year the Clean Air campaign is asking people to undertake three key actions:
1. Talk with others about the harm that accompanies air pollution.
2. Walk when you can, as has been seen throughout the pandemic reducing the amount that we rely on fossil fuels for transport can have a significant impact.
3. Ask your local community decision-makers and leaders for the amenities and infrastructures that will make clean air a more easily attainable goal.
As for businesses, real change can be brought about by investing in the technologies needed to reduce carbon emissions. Understanding where you are overusing energy and monitoring the quality of the air in your buildings can go a long way, here’s how:
Asset Level Energy Monitoring
Traditional smart meters only go so far, they are able to give you a snapshot of what you are consuming across a building at that moment in time, but how does that help you reduce your consumption? It doesn’t!
Going deeper with your energy monitoring and getting right down to which assets are consuming the most will go a long way to helping you identify where you are needlessly spending money on energy. A good example of this is kitchen equipment in an office or restaurant. Oftentimes there are assets that do not need to be on 100% of the time but are left on for convenience. We have identified numerous cases where when we reduce out-of-hours consumption energy bills are reduced dramatically and in turn, less carbon is produced.
Monitor Air Quality
Investing in sensors that monitor the quality of air in your environment can not only help you keep on top of heating bills, there’s no need to ventilate the building with every window open if the air quality is in tip-top shape, but it can also go a long way to improving staff and customers comfort levels.
At Mindsett our IoT environment sensors work on three separate levels, meaning we not only monitor the quality of your air but also monitor temperature and humidity levels. All of this is done in real-time and available for download in a report format, meaning you can remain compliant without dedicating additional time to the task!
You can find out more about our environment monitoring here.
Education is a key part of Clean Air Day and Global Action Plan’s Clean Air Hub is a great place to increase your understanding of air pollution, as well as the Clean Air Calculator to see how you can reduce your personal contribution to air pollution. Further educational resources are also available from Public Health England and the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs.