Vivergy announces new AirWatch program, a complete outdoor air-quality monitoring solution for schools and businesses!
Vivergy, one of our member businesses, recently announced the launch of their AirWatch program. AirWatch allows participating schools or businesses to locate a Wi-Fi enabled air quality monitor on their premises, and see minute-by-minute updates on the AirWatch site. This complete monitoring solution will allows participating organizations to understand how car and bus use affect the air pollution levels in their microenvironment.
Vivergy focuses on helping individuals and businesses understand how the use of fossil fuels affects the health of loved ones and community members in the Boston area. In fact, particulate matter 2.5, a common form of air pollution, is also the primary component of secondhand smoke. Living in the Boston area is like sitting in a sealed car with a smoker every day for 25 minutes due to outdoor air pollution.
Although many Bostonians do not want their children to sit in a sealed car with a smoker every day, they also can have a hard time connecting to particulate matter, which is frequently invisible and tasteless, similar to carbon monoxide. Particulate matter 2.5 is so small that 100 particles can fit within the width of a human hair. This is also why it is so dangerous- it can get past the lungs’ defenses and get into the alveoli, which then allow the pollution to be absorbed into the bloodstream. An estimated 200,000 Americans die per year due to particulate pollution. Vehicle pollution alone kills more Americans than car accidents do.
At the same time, the EPA’s AirNow monitoring network only includes 3 monitors in the Boston area. This is largely due to the price of the monitors that deliver government-quality data ($30,000+). So, Vivergy developed its own monitor based on open-source instructions. The monitor is composed a Dylos air quality monitor ($300) and a Raspberry Pi ($80), a microcomputer with a Wi-Fi module. They then configured the microcomputer to stream its results to the Vivergy server, where it can be presented to interested citizens in a user-friendly format in real-time. The accuracy of the monitor has been measured to have a correlation of 0.7 to 0.8 with the government monitor, which is exceptional considering that it is 1% of the cost.
In a similar initiative put on by the American Lung Association of Colorado, air quality monitors at schools measured higher air pollution readings at drop-off and pickup times, likely due to parents showing up early and idling their cars as they waited. Vivergy is curious to see if their AirWatch system will replicate these results, and if it does, if parents or employees can then easily understand the impact of vehicles on local air pollution and the wellbeing of loved ones and colleagues.
You can check out the live pollution monitor at joinvivergy.com/schools, Vivergy’s real-time pollution map of the United States at joinvivergy.com/air, and their main site at joinvivergy.com.