Space heating accounts for more than 50% of the energy consumption of public & residential buildings, and reduction of this energy demand is a key strategy in the move to low energy/low carbon buildings. The careful management of air flow within a building forms part of this strategy through the control of inlet fresh air and exhaust air, maximising air re-circulation, and minimising the amount of fresh air which is often drawn in through a heat exchanger. However, there is a high risk that the air quality is reduced. Continued exposure to environments with poor air quality is a major public health concern in developed and developing countries. It is estimated that the pollutants responsible for poor air quality cause nearly 2.5 million premature deaths per year world-wide. Significantly, around 1.5 million of these deaths are due to polluted indoor air, and it is suggested that poor indoor air quality may pose a significant health risk to more than half of the world’s population. Perhaps surprisingly, remedial action to improve air quality is often easy to implement. Relatively simple measures such as increased air flow through ventilation systems, or a greater proportion of fresh air to re-circulating air are sufficient to improve air quality. Low-energy air purification and detoxification technologies are available which will reduce the concentration of specific pollutants. Similarly, filtration systems (e.g. electrostatic filters) can be switched in to reduce the level of the particulate matter in the air (the principle pollutant responsible for poor health). The INTASENSE concept is to integrate a number of micro- and nano-sensing technologies onto a common detection platform with shared air-handling and pre-conditioning infrastructure to produce a low-cost miniaturised system that can comprehensively measure air quality, and identify the nature and form of pollutants. INTASENSE is a 3-year project which brings together 8 organisations from 5 countries.
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