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Sci Total Environ. 2016 Aug 1;560-561:150-9. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.04.032. Epub 2016 Apr 18.

Real-time sensors for indoor air monitoring and challenges ahead in deploying them to urban buildings.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences (FEPS), University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, Surrey, United Kingdom; Environmental Flow Research Centre, FEPS, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, Surrey, United Kingdom. Electronic address:
Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Institute for Environment and Sustainability TP263, via E Fermi 2749, Ispra, VA I-20127, Italy.
Transport Operations Research Group, School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University, Claremont Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE17RU, United Kingdom.
Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, IDAEA-CSIC, Jordi Girona 18, 08034 Barcelona, Spain.
IMAMOTER - C.N.R. Sensors and Nanomaterials Laboratory, via Canal Bianco 28, 44124 Ferrara, Italy.
Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Delft 2628 CN, The Netherlands; Energy Environment and Water Research Center, The Cyprus Institute, Nicosia 2121, Cyprus.
International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Queensland University of Technology, 2 George Street, Brisbane, Qld 4001, Australia.


Household air pollution is ranked the 9(th) largest Global Burden of Disease risk (Forouzanfar et al., The Lancet 2015). People, particularly urban dwellers, typically spend over 90% of their daily time indoors, where levels of air pollution often surpass those of outdoor environments. Indoor air quality (IAQ) standards and approaches for assessment and control of indoor air require measurements of pollutant concentrations and thermal comfort using conventional instruments. However, the outcomes of such measurements are usually averages over long integrated time periods, which become available after the exposure has already occurred. Moreover, conventional monitoring is generally incapable of addressing temporal and spatial heterogeneity of indoor air pollution, or providing information on peak exposures that occur when specific indoor sources are in operation. This article provides a review of new air pollution sensing methods to determine IAQ and discusses how real-time sensing could bring a paradigm shift in controlling the concentration of key air pollutants in billions of urban houses worldwide. We also show that besides the opportunities, challenges still remain in terms of maturing technologies, or data mining and their interpretation. Moreover, we discuss further research and essential development needed to close gaps between what is available today and needed tomorrow. In particular, we demonstrate that awareness of IAQ risks and availability of appropriate regulation are lagging behind the technologies.


Air quality sensing; Gas sensors; Human exposure; Indoor air quality; Low cost instrument; Urban buildings

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