Picture: Kaisaniemi Primary School

Prerequisites for good indoor air are being studied

Four educational institutions in Helsinki have been selected to conduct a study on factors contributing to good indoor air in a project by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Aalto University. Using measurements and feedback surveys, the researchers will investigate the kind of indoor air conditions people find pleasant.

In Helsinki, the Myllypuro Comprehensive School (Lower Stage), the Kaisaniemi Primary School, the Keinutie Primary School in Kontula and the Meritalo unit of Helsinki Vocational College will participate in the study.

The city will procure sensors for the buildings being studied; they will be used to measure the temperature, carbon dioxide content, relative humidity, volatile organic compounds, particulates and the differential pressures between outdoor and indoor air.

Measurement data will be transferred wirelessly from the sensors to the new system that monitors the consumption and conditions, and then send the visualised data to the researchers and the city. At the same time, the experiences and observations of the users of the facilities, concerning indoor air quality, will be collected.

“This kind of monitoring in Helsinki’s schools is new. Previously, measurements, such as these, have only been taken in the short term, and we have not had much real-time data available,” says Senior Advisor Marianna Tuomainen, Urban Environment Division.

The project aims to discover universally applicable results that could be used more extensively for the building stock. The project does not study mould or microbial damage; it examines indoor climate conditions, such as temperature or the functioning of the ventilation, which have a large impact on what indoor air feels like. 

The sensors will be installed in the premises being studied from November to December, at which time the users of the premises will be instructed on how to give feedback. The research project will end in the spring of 2019; but, the aim is to keep using the sensors, even after the project ends.

“Sensors may also be installed in other city buildings. Collecting measurement data is useful, even without user feedback. The aim is to develop this into a new tool for property management and our indoor air experts,” says Marianna Tuomainen.

The studies are being implemented as a part of the Smart & Clean – cost-efficient spaces with high quality indoor air project. In addition to Helsinki, participants include the cities of Vantaa and Espoo as well as Aalto University. The project is one of the actions for change in the metropolitan area, by the Smart & Clean Foundation. It is coordinated by VTT and its main financier is the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council.

Additional information:

VTT press release, 18 September 2018: The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Aalto University investigate the prerequisites for good indoor air together with the cities in the metropolitan area – users are involved in the development

Research project website

Information about indoor air: www.hel.fi/indoorair

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