The Gap Cubbyhouse Montessori in Brisbane has used a new Internet of Things (IoT) implementation to improve air quality in its nurseries, and has tapped two Australian companies for the implementation.
Thinxtra and Zeplin were engaged by the school to deploy indoor air quality monitoring (IAQ) equipment to measure carbon dioxide (CO2) levels to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 indoors.
The long nursery is suitable for children between the ages of six weeks and six years and specializes in the Early Years Learning Framework, Montessori and Steiner & Reggio Emilia educational systems.
Once the center reopened after pandemic lockdowns, Sue-Ling Lau, director of The Gap Cubbyhouse Montessori, recognized the need for an IAQ monitoring solution to reduce the risk of transmission of airborne diseases such as COVID-19 and improve overall health. health and well-being of the Montessori community in The Gap.
“All nurseries face the same threat of virus transmission, and by knowing the CO2 levels in a room, you can make informed decisions to minimize transmission of COVID-19, but all airborne illnesses. “, she said.
“It wasn’t enough just to open the windows and get air purifiers; these are crucial, but we needed to understand the baseline of air quality in all parts of the center.”
The center engaged Brisbane-based Zeplin to implement its IAQ Monitoring Solution, consisting of IoT sensors that measure CO2, temperature and humidity levels.
The battery-powered devices have a lifespan of up to five years and require no ongoing maintenance. The data recorded by the sensors is transmitted in real time over Thinxtra’s national 0G network and can be viewed in Zeplin’s remotely accessible cloud-based application.
“Since I don’t always work on site, I wanted a way to see CO2 levels remotely, which is where the Zeplin and Thinxtra system came in handy. It turned out to be a very attractive option as it created insight into the air quality in all interior spaces. spaces, with the ability to access data at any time, plus the benefit of live notifications,” said Lau.
The Gap Montessori installed IAQ monitoring equipment in the site’s classrooms, offices and hallways, each with sensors that provide reliable data through Zeplin’s mobile and web applications.
The center will receive alerts when maximum indoor air quality thresholds have been reached, allowing Lau to advise on-site workers to change conditions in each respective room.
“Having real-time data on CO2 levels, humidity and temperature allows us to take the right measures to maintain the health and well-being of the children and staff. It lets us know when to open windows, go outside, and even make sure kids are hydrated and dressed appropriately in the warmer months. Poor ventilation also impacts cognitive ability and therefore productivity, so lowering CO2 levels means no one feels tired or dizzy, giving us a more optimal learning environment for children,” says Lau.
“Seeing the CO2 threshold warnings come through was quite an eye opener. We didn’t realize how high CO2 levels could get, even in a low-density suburb like The Gap. Initially we got warnings several times a day, but now we need less with procedures to increase airflow. Our trigger point is 800 parts per million (ppm) – which is an acceptable level of CO2. Complaints about drowsiness and poor air quality start as soon as the CO2 is above 1000 ppm. These levels were surprisingly common in our center when we first installed the monitors.
“Parents have told me they are reassured that we are doing everything we can to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our childcare center with daily deep cleanings of our facilities, weekly rapid antigen tests for staff and now the CO2 monitors. †
Justin Appi, executive director at Zeplin, said, “Sue and I discussed setting thresholds based on recommended standards, giving The Gap Cubbyhouse a solution that triggers alerts based on their preferred attributes that can be adjusted at any time.
In addition to opening windows, using air purifiers and turning air conditioners to the fresh air intake, CO2 monitors are a must-have in nurseries and schools.”
Nicholas Lambrou, CEO of Thinxtra, said: “When it comes to reducing the spread of airborne viruses, it’s incredibly difficult to control what you can’t see. With Zeplin and Thinxtra, The Gap Montessori has a solution that can monitor indoor air quality, enabling the nursery to provide a healthier and safer environment for children and staff; they can breathe cleaner air and perform better in well-ventilated areas that have reduced the risk of airborne virus transmission.”
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