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Enhancing Air Quality in Public Buildings with Innovative Sensors

In recent years, the importance of air quality in public buildings, such as schools and offices, has become increasingly evident. Initially driven by the need to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the focus on air quality has now expanded to include climate goals aimed at reducing air pollution and improving the overall work environment. Effective air quality management is essential for creating healthy and sustainable indoor environments which can be achieved through various sensors, such as temperature and humidity sensors, and CO2 monitors.  

The Need for Air Quality Sensors  

Air quality sensors are crucial for maintaining healthy indoor environments. In the UK, a significant step was taken in 2021 when the government announced that all state-funded education settings would receive carbon dioxide monitors to ensure better ventilation and air quality in schools 1. Similarly, the European Union has taken a stricter stand on air pollution, pushing for improved air quality in public spaces 2. These regulations underscore the need for effective monitoring and control of indoor air quality.  

Implementing Sensors in Buildings  

For new constructions, planning for sensor installation from the start allows for the integration of wired sensors, which can be seamlessly incorporated into the building’s infrastructure. However, retrofitting sensors into existing buildings poses a greater challenge due to the costs and complexities associated with installing new wiring. Additionally, wired sensors cannot easily be changed or switched after installation, further complicating upgrades and modifications in existing structures.  

Battery-powered sensors often become the go-to solution in such cases, but they come with their own set of challenges. Regular battery replacements not only increase maintenance costs but also have environmental implications due to the disposal of used batteries.    

Sustainable Solutions with Light-Powered Sensors  

This is where light-powered sensors present a viable and sustainable alternative. Epishine offers indoor solar cell solutions that eliminate the need for batteries or wired power sources. These solar cells capture indoor light to make the sensors self-powered, reducing maintenance costs and the environmental footprint associated with battery disposal.  

Recent advancements in light-powered sensor technology have demonstrated their potential in sustainable building management. For instance, Connected Inventions and Epishine have launched light-powered sensors that operate maintenance-free, requiring no external power sources. Similarly, Sentinum, Elsys and MClimate, in collaboration with Epishine, have introduced different self-powered devices that monitor indoor air quality and CO2 levels. These innovations operate on a place-and-forget basis once the optimal location has been identified and enhance both energy efficiency and indoor air quality.  

Benefits of Light-Powered Sensors  

  1. Cost Efficiency: By eliminating the need for battery replacements, light-powered sensors significantly reduce maintenance costs and are significantly cheaper to purchase and install than wired solutions.  
  2. Sustainability: Light-powered sensors provide a more sustainable end-of-life process by eliminating the need to dispose of lithium batteries, which require special care to avoid hazards and environmental contamination.  
  3. Ease of Installation: Without the need for wiring, light-powered sensors can be easily retrofitted into existing buildings and moved when changes are needed.  
  4. Reliability: With no dependency on battery life, light-powered sensors provide consistent performance over time.  

As regulations around air quality in public buildings become stricter, the adoption of advanced sensor technologies is essential. Light-powered sensors offer a sustainable and cost-effective solution for monitoring and controlling indoor air quality that can create healthier and more energy-efficient environments.  


1. All schools to receive carbon dioxide monitors
2. Air pollution: Deal with Council to improve air quality