"Through Pandemics and Wildfires, Can Air Sensors Keep Offices Safe?"

"Some companies are turning to technology to illuminate potential hazards in indoor air."

"When wildfire smoke began blanketing New York City in June, employees at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, an architecture and design firm in Lower Manhattan, had a panoramic view of the unfolding crisis. From their desks, nearly 30 stories off the ground, they watched as the sky transformed from hazy, slate blue in the morning to dirty, dishwater gray at noon. By midafternoon, they were looking out on an otherworldly skyline.

“It was apocalyptic orange,” said Charles Harris, an architect at the firm.

But inside the office, cool air rippled from the vents running along the ceiling, and large screens reassured employees: “Indoor Air Quality is Very Good.”

The assessment was based on the readings of indoor air-quality sensors that were tracking the real-time levels of pollutants, including the fine particulate matter that makes wildfire smoke so hazardous. The sensors had been installed during the pandemic, but now they were proving their worth in the midst of a new air-quality emergency."

Emily Anthes reports for the New York Times June 29, 2023.


Source: NYTimes, 06/29/2023