We share the great news that we have merged AirLabs Air Filtration Division with Rensair, a specialist in Indoor Air Quality.
Airlabs will continue under the leadership of Jorge M. Vasquez, to focus on the success of the Air Monitoring Division, including the AirScape/AirNode products.
Rensair has deep experience in hospital-grade air purification and has secured new funding to expand its presence across the world, introduce a broader product portfolio with IoT connectivity, and invest in marketing outreach. The acquisition of established AirLabs products such as the AirBubbl brings complementary filtration and IoT technologies to their product range.
Importantly, the Air Filtration sales and operational teams have transferred to Rensair to ensure our customers’ point of contact and level of service will remain unchanged. They can be assured that they remain a valued partner of AirLabs and now also of Rensair.
Rensair is on a mission to protect and enhance lives through proven clean air technology. Founded in May 2020 by Danish twins Christian and Frederik Hendriksen, the company – whose over 800 customers include CBRE, Disney, Morgan Stanley, PepsiCo, SNCF, and the UK National Health Service (NHS) – is headquartered in London with operations in the UK, Europe, USA and Asia. More information can be found here.
“The pandemic has taught us that we cannot take air quality for granted, but airborne disease transmission is not the only reason to care about air quality”, said Christian Hendriksen, Co-founder and CEO at Rensair. “The proliferation of environmental pollutants, a rise in drug-resistant bacteria, and the newly identified threat of airborne microplastics are all reasons to improve Indoor Air Quality.”
“Clean air is of course a defense mechanism against sick building syndrome and absenteeism, but it’s much more than that”, said Frederik Hendriksen, Co-founder and US CEO at Rensair. “It’s been proven to boost productivity and learning and, in one Harvard study, resulted in a 61% increase in cognitive scores. The ROI on Indoor Air Quality is far reaching.”
This exciting development should have limited impact, but please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries.
With students returning to school across the country, the updated guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (in the light of the more contagious Delta Variant) and the varying instructions on children wearing masks, one company has taken a serious look at what is necessary when it comes to protecting drivers and students aboard school buses.
When considering how to keep drivers and children safe from airborne coronavirus, it is first key to understand how filtration and air flow both play a critical part in providing the right solution.
Masks have an effectiveness of anything between 0% and 80%, depending on the material they are made from and whether they are being worn correctly. Opening windows is impractical in bad weather and can add dangerous air pollution to the mix. The only way to fully protect drivers and students is to filter the air on board and flood the bus interior with a non-stop supply of clean air.
“The answer is to be able to quickly and effectively filter the air while at the same time flooding the bus cabin with clean air. In a bus with up to 72 children each breathing 8 liters of air per minute, this means at least 576 liters of clean air per minute are required to reduce the risk of exposure should someone on board be infected,” explained Stuart Walker, head of product for AirLabs.
Developed by clean air technology specialists, it is the only air purifier on the market that has been independently tested and verified to remove more than 99% of airborne coronavirus and air pollution, including toxic particles and gases, while also delivering more than 7,600 litres of clean air per minute when placed in a school bus configuration.
Equally importantly, the AirBubbl ‘does no harm,’ which Walker believes is a key consideration.
“When considering solutions, it is critical to choose a product that does not produce any harmful bi-products such as ozone and to think about the long term protection it can provide,” he said.
“By choosing a solution that will protect against not only airborne coronavirus but also against particle and gas pollutants including PM2.5, PM10, soot and smoke from wildfires, allergens and ozone – all of which are detrimental to physical and mental health – you are investing in the long term health and wellness of your drivers and students,” Walker continued.
Triple Action Technology
“When we looked at how to best solve the problem of airborne coronavirus and pollution, we took into account several critical considerations,” Walker said.
We started answering these questions with our Triple Action Technology approach, ‘TAcT’.
Part one of our TAcT approach is our patented air extraction and delivery technology. This ensures that the air is extracted and reintroduced to the surrounding space at a rate of 38,000 cubic litres per hour. This exceptional Clean Air Delivery Rate means that the personal breathing space around a driver and students is rapidly cleaned and then kept clean for the duration of the ride to school.
Parts two and three of TAcT are our unique dual filter technology. Here we have developed an active carbon filter to remove ozone (O3) as well as other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). This is coupled with a powerful HEPA filter to remove airborne pathogens and particulate pollutants such as PM2.5, PM10, along with dust, dander, pollen and other allergens. Most importantly, our HEPA filter is tested with and proven to remove more than 99% of the airborne human coronavirus.
Cost is always a concern in the public space, as is the longevity of technology solutions and the effort necessary to maintain them. To this end, our technology maintains a low total cost of ownership as it requires no maintenance other than scheduled filter replacements.
Tested to the Limits, Proven to Protect
The final criteria we set ourselves is to be effective, while doing no harm to the users or the environment.
To achieve this, we have been through rigorous independent testing with the Institut Pasteur to certify that our filter removes more than 99% of the live airborne human coronavirus. We have also tested with IUTA to certify that our filter removes more than 99% of particle and gas pollutants including PM2.5 PM10 and ozone (O3) as well as pollutants such as dust, dander, pollen and other allergens.
Additionally, we crash tested with Thatcham Research to assure safety in extreme driving conditions. We have also registered our manufacturing facility with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Establishment 100544-CHN-1, and are CARB certified for sale in California.
Safeguarding the Health of Everyone Onboard
Illness and pandemic-related anxiety means that operators nationwide are facing low bus driver numbers. For operators and school districts, having their drivers work in a clean air environment brings added proven benefits: on average a 5% reduction in accidents, a 3.2% reduction in sick days and an 8% increase in employee performance.
All of these can have a huge impact in running an efficient service with minimized costs and overheads.
Funding For Clean Air Technology
Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, which are part of the federal COVID-19 stimulus packages, specifically focus on K-12 education. The Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act allots funding for bus and motorcoach operators. Specific funds in the American Rescue Plan are also allotted for education and learning loss. Together, these programs offer a total of $189.5 billion for student education and support.
The federal government provides funding packages which are awarded to State Education Agency (SEAs), then to Local Education Agencies (LEAs), and finally to the school districts. At each step, a plan must be provided on how the funding will be used.
Focusing on student and driver health in the classroom and on the school bus re-establishes the necessary level of trust between students, parents, drivers, school administrations and the wider community, confirming that not only is the race on to protect drivers and students from the airborne coronavirus and pollution, but also that the finish line is in sight.
To find out more about AirBubbl in school buses click here
Not all air purification technology is created equal.
Backed by science, AirLabs pride themselves in understanding what air purifiers remove from the environment they are in, as well as what they may add to it. This article looks at:
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across the United States have spent more than $100 million on ionizer technology in an attempt to clean the air in classrooms, and to keep children safe while transporting them to and from school.
However, despite this considerable investment, there is little evidence to suggest that the air will be any cleaner as a result, or that the nation’s children will be less exposed to COVID-19. Ionizer technology remains unproven in reducing transmission of the virus in real world settings.
Additionally, this technology has even been found to emit harmful by-products, including ozone, as well as volatile organic compounds. Many health and safety agencies, including the California Air Resources Board (CARB), have taken very strong stances against ionizers, and the technology is most often deemed inefficient, and at worst a health risk.
This is a scandal on a huge scale, and it has largely gone unnoticed. While the vast majority of these manufacturers no doubt has good intentions, the companies that sell these products are misleading their customers and parents about their effectiveness and are potentially harming the children they claim to safeguard while wasting millions of dollars of school and parents’ money.
Understanding the Threat
We now know that coronavirus is spread via airborne transmission, for example when an infected person coughs, breathes, talks, or sings Wheels on the Bus. Even once they’ve left the enclosed space, the virus can remain suspended in the air for several hours. While opening windows and doors is an effective way of increasing ventilation in enclosed spaces, it is not always feasible to do this effectively, especially on busy school buses.
This is particularly important during extreme weather conditions where we tend to spend more time with windows closed and unfortunately the risks of a spike in infection grows. We must therefore take every measure available to properly protect children from coronavirus in and on their way to school.
Effective air purification can also contribute to broader safety and wellbeing in a school bus setting. For drivers, working in a clean air environment reduces workplace anxiety and improves focus at the wheel, helping to reduce accidents. Access to clean air also reduces sick days and minimizes costs and operational overheads associated with health insurance premiums and the need for replacement agency drivers.
Risks of Unproven Technology
Ionizer technology claims to neutralize particulate matter, bacteria and virus cells, odorous gases, and aerosols. Scientific investigation, however, proves that these claims lack any credibility. Health and safety agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) are amongst those who strongly recommended against the use of ionizers due their ineffectiveness in cleaning air and risks to health.
In everyday operating conditions, ions added to occupied environments such as a school bus will react with other compounds present in indoor air, which will lead to the formation of harmful by-products such as formaldehyde and ozone. Ions also rapidly bind to other gases and spur the formation of new ‘ultrafine’ particles, which are known air pollutants.
The ozone generated by bipolar ionization is hard to detect. However, this in turn has no effect on particle concentration making the technology essentially ineffective at ‘killing’ the coronavirus or any other pathogen over a large area. According to a field study by Boeing on these products, there is no effect in using bipolar technology.
The technology’s ineffectiveness and potential risks to health, as acknowledged by the top health and safety agencies in the United States, poses a real threat to the children that the technology is claiming to protect and leads to significant levels of misspending by schools across the country.
Efficacy is only part of the story when it comes to effective air purification. The other part of the equation is the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), the standard measurement of an air cleaning device’s efficiency. To know if the product you are buying is effective, it is important to know whether the products have had their CADR independently tested to a recognized test standard.
Institut de Pasteur, for example, tests the ability of air purifying devices to remove airborne pathogens through using live, human airborne coronavirus. The In-Use Technology Assessment (IUTA) also tests the effectiveness of devices when removing particulate matter and gases, such as PM2.5, PM10, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and Ozone (O3). Ensuring devices have undergone this level of testing when purchasing air purification technologies must be at the forefront of decision-making.
AirLabs’ AirBubbl, for example, is the only air purifier independently tested and verified to remove more than 99% of airborne coronavirus and air pollution, including toxic particles and gases.
Proven to remove live human coronavirus, the compact AirBubbl devices have a world leading CADR rate, producing more than 38,000 liters of filtered air per hour, with no harmful byproducts. This market-leading CADR is capable of completely refreshing the air in an average school bus every ten minutes, protecting drivers and students from the risks of airborne viruses and pollution.
Every student, from the front to the back of the vehicle, is equally protected. Minimizing daily exposure to air pollution also improves concentration in the classroom and protects their long-term cognitive development.
Urgent Action Required
While vaccinations and other measures will of course remain crucial, proven air purification technology has a considerable role to play in keeping children safe. There is an urgent need for schools to be able to invest in proven solutions with the confidence that they will help address the problems of air pollution and airborne coronavirus.
As we prepare for changes in weather and the threat of extreme weather conditions, schools and transport operators must urgently consider the solutions they are using to clean the air in classrooms and on board their buses to address the airborne risk of transmission.
To find out more about AirBubbl in school buses click here
Why Should Children Have to Suffer?
Air pollution and the spread of airborne viruses lived in the headlines for the majority of 2021, and will continue to do so in 2022.
It is no surprise that the awareness of the dangers of air pollution has become a top priority, even more so since the World Health Organization tightened its air quality guidelines in September of 2021. For years we have ignored the damaging impacts it may have on our wellbeing, but what about the effects it has on our children?
Children are at a higher risk of the ill effects of air pollution as their lungs, brains and immune systems are still developing.
Long-term exposure on their daily bus trips to school, sitting in the classroom, or even just outside their school gates, is causing irreparable damage to the lives they have ahead of them. We also know that consistent exposure to high levels of airborne pollution, and its impact on pulmonary health, has a direct correlation to the propensity to contract COVID-19, as well as the severity of its symptoms.
Air pollution accounts for almost 1 in 10 deaths in children under five years of age. Those lucky enough to not fall in these statistics have an increased threat of asthma, childhood cancers, chronic diseases, poor lung function, pneumonia and other types of acute lower respiratory infection. It affects their neurodevelopment, leading to lower cognitive test outcomes and negatively affecting mental and motor development.
More than 25 million children each year rely on school buses to get them to school safely, taking an estimated 10 billion individual journeys. Much is accounted for vehicle and driver safety, but what about the air onboard a school bus? How are they to get a good day of education after breathing toxic gases from the moment they leave their front door?
In many cases, the journey to school can be one of the most polluted trips these children will make. The five worst polluted school areas include New York, Chicago and Pittsburgh, as well as Jersey City and Camden in New Jersey.
Airborne pollution affects a student’s immediate and long-term ability to learn, retain information, and perform as well as those who are traveling in far less polluted environments.
Schools with greater proportions of socio disadvantaged students, schools with higher enrollment, and schools located in more urban counties face greater risks.
Privilege is given to the mere 7% of children globally who are not exposed to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) while the remaining 93% grow up in a deficit of the physical and cognitive development they so desperately need in the early years of childhood.
Those children that come from ethnic minority backgrounds, and who as a result suffer from social and enviro-economic deprivation are bearing the brunt of air neurotoxicant exposures at school, which may be unequally impacting their school performance and future potential.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, some schools have made the informed choice to install air filtration in classrooms, but what about their trip to those apparent safe havens?
Even with their best efforts, some schools were misled to believe the technology they were investing in was the right choice and was later proven to underperform and in some cases cause more harm than good. It can be a daunting task to decide which technologies to invest in to put the children’s needs first, which is where we come in.
Backed by science, AirLabs is dedicated to finding the best solution to protect those who use it. As is recommended by the CDC and WHO, we use HEPA filters to remove more than 99% of airborne pathogens, viruses, pollen, PM2.5 and PM10, bacteria, pollen, soot, mold spores, dust and dander, non-exhaust traffic emissions.
We are here to help and will gladly answer any questions you may have on your journey to effective active air filtration.
Longleat Safari Park installs air-cleaning technology on its Safari Buses as extra protection for visitors
Longleat Safari Park has installed almost 200 air-cleaning devices on its Safari Buses to protect visitors from COVID-19, as the site fully reopens to the public this week (17 May).
One of the UK’s most iconic family attractions, Longleat has installed 63 AirLabs AirBubbl devices in each of its three double-decker buses – one on the back of every seat – as an extra protective measure for passengers.
The installation enables Longleat to operate the popular buses for the first time since the first lockdown in March 2020, as each AirBubbl removes 95% of airborne pollutants and pathogens, including coronavirus, and provides 30,000 litres of clean air per hour to keep visitors safe from airborne threats.
Scott Ashman, operations manager, at Longleat Safari Park, said: “We are excited to welcome visitors back on board our Safari Buses this week, as we fully reopen following the winter lockdown.
“The safety of our visitors is always our number one priority, so we have installed the AirBubbl air-cleaning devices as an additional measure to enable our passengers to safely and confidently get back on board our iconic buses.”
The buses run up to six times per day, with a full safari taking up to three hours. They will initially operate at half capacity (40), with passengers also asked to wear masks as an additional precaution.
The bus gives visitors the opportunity to go around the Safari drive-through via a bus instead of their own vehicles to see giraffe, zebra, rhino, tigers, lions and the infamous monkey drive-through.
Longleat has put in place a number of measures to protect visitors as the site reopens, including reducing capacity to allow for social distancing, mandating mask-wearing indoors, and introducing a new cleaning regime.
The AirBubbl is an extremely easy to install and cost-effective solution that is being deployed in public transport and a range of other settings around the globe to restore confidence in passenger safety as countries emerge from the pandemic.
Marc Ottolini, CEO of AirLabs, said: “The tourism and hospitality sector has been hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis, so it is fantastic to see a world-renowned attraction like Longleat take this step to protect visitors as they fully reopen this week.
“Our AirBubbl technology will help transport operators and attractions to restore confidence in public transport, by prioritising passenger safety as UK tourism comes back online and lockdowns lift.”
The AirBubbl removes more than 95% of airborne viruses and contaminated particulate matter and floods the vehicle with over 30,000 litres of clean air every hour, creating a constant clean air zone for the driver and passengers to keep them safe. The AirBubbl is equally effective at removing air pollution, including harmful ozone gases, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particle air pollutants PM2.5 and PM10, playing a vital role in protecting drivers and passengers long after the pandemic has passed.
Aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2
Coronaviruses such as the one that causes COVID-19 are spread via respiratory droplets produced by infected persons when they cough, sneeze, talk or breathe. While larger droplets quickly fall out of the air, smaller droplets persist as aerosols. Smaller aerosol particles are of concern because they may stay in the air for longer, travel further and be able to penetrate further into the respiratory tract when inhaled.
The WHO advises that the virus is spread:
The Lancet has reported that airborne transmission is “the most likely route” for the transmission of the disease.
AirLabs has published a white paper on reducing exposure to airborne viruses using air filtration systems. It sets out the evidence behind airborne virus transmission and how air filtration can effectively remove bioaerosol particles.
For more information, images or to speak to a spokesperson from AirLabs please contact:
Max Boon, Greenhouse PR: firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 (0) 7765 325141.
Toby Dye, Greenhouse PR: email@example.com / +44 (0) 7508 636325.
AirLabs is a leading pioneer in clean air technology. More than 90% of the world’s population is exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution and AirLabs’ mission is to deliver measuring, monitoring and cleaning solutions that provide valuable insight, enable action and clean polluted air to make it safe for people to breathe.
Its international team of atmospheric chemistry scientists, airflow engineers and sensor specialists has developed cutting-edge and scientifically proven solutions for use by governments, businesses and individuals to tackle the growing problem of urban air pollution.
The AirBubbl in-car air cleaner contains patented filtration and air-flow technology that effectively removes particulates such as dust, pollen, soot, fibres, PM2.5 and PM10, along with bacteria and viruses and gaseous pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
AirLabs is headquartered in London and has its R&D labs in Copenhagen. www.airlabs.com
About Longleat Safari Park
Set within 900 acres of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped grounds, Longleat House is widely regarded as one of the best examples of high Elizabethan architecture in Britain and one of the most beautiful stately homes open to the public.
Home to the Marquesses of Bath since the 1600s, Longleat has been welcoming visitors for more than 400 years. The Wiltshire estate was the first to open its doors to the public back in 1949 and totally re-defined the world of tourism in 1966 when it launched the only drive-through safari park outside of Africa.
The drive-through safari is home to exotic animals from around the world including giraffes, tigers, cheetahs, mischievous monkeys and majestic lions.
Today it is one of the UK’s most iconic and popular family attractions, annually attracting around a million visitors with its unique mix of magical wildlife encounters, rich history, astonishing family experiences and year-round programme of immersive events and festivals.
One of the defining images from the past year was the sight of the world’s great cities standing empty, as people around the globe were ordered to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The desertion of our cities led to a striking reduction in air pollution, with the Centre for Cities reporting a 60 per cent drop during the first lockdown in some areas of the UK and reports of 150 fewer air pollution-related deaths in Spain in the same period.
The physical impacts of air pollution are well reported – it’s now considered to be the world’s largest environmental health threat, accounting for almost nine million deaths every year and reducing life expectancy by an average of 2.9 years for people across the globe.
But the impact on mental health is often overlooked. A recent study in London found that increases in the key air pollutants – PM2.5, NOx and NO2 – are associated with up to 39% increased odds of common mental disorders.
As lockdown restrictions ease and our cities begin to come back to life, governments around the world must take action now to tackle the air pollution crisis and protect our physical and mental health.
An increasing threat
Air pollution levels have slowly crept up since the first lockdown and there is real concern that they may continue to increase beyond pre-pandemic levels. This is largely due to people using their cars more frequently because of a reluctance to return to public transport. YouGov research revealed that 60% of people in Brazil would use their car more following the pandemic and 40% of respondents in the US and Australia also said they expected to drive more.
This is a concerning trend and should be tackled as a matter of urgency. We must make public transport the quickest, cheapest and safest way to travel around our urban spaces or the rapid, dramatic drop in ridership will become permanent.
During the pandemic, urban spaces have opened up and become pedestrianised to enable cafes, bars and restaurants to serve customers outside. We should aim to lock in these changes to remove cars from our towns and cities longer term.
But we can and must do more. In the UK, we learnt in this week’s Queen’s Speech that the Environment Bill will return after months of delays caused by the pandemic, and is set to include a framework for tackling air pollution. That framework has to set legal limits on air pollution and funding must be made available to our towns, cities and public transport operators to make long-lasting change to tackle the issue.
Sleepwalking into a mental health crisis
The pandemic has placed real strain on the mental health of people around the world, who have had to adjust to living in increased isolation under lockdown.
A Swiss study found that many young adults, and young women in particular, experienced symptoms of mental illness during the first lockdown. More than half of young women and 38% of young men reported mild to severe symptoms of depression. The results relating to anxiety were similar.
A study co-led by City, University of London and UCL researchers found that those with pre-existing mental health conditions were especially impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns, due to the loss of normal coping routines, barriers to accessing care, and the unequal impacts of the pandemic.
With air pollution expected to increase in urban spaces and a fragile public returning to our cities, there is potential for us to sleepwalk into a post-pandemic mental health crisis.
So what can be done by politicians to tackle this combined threat?
Tackling urban air pollution
Along with pedestrianizing our cities and introducing legal limits on air pollution, there are a host of other measures that could protect bodies and minds.
The first and most important step is to act smarter in how we monitor air pollution in urban spaces.
Currently most cities install a limited number of monitoring stations in a few areas where air quality is expected to be a problem. While this setup can indicate air conditions in a city, crucially, it lacks the ability to pick up on localised and/or short-lived pollution hotspots.
This is a profound issue as air pollution is extremely dynamic, fluctuating significantly in time as well as location. For example, Imperial College London’s regular pollution monitoring shows that air quality can be four times worse in some streets than others, even within the same district.
Well-intentioned local authorities rightly want to improve the air quality in their urban spaces. But their limited data only offers a tiny fragment of the picture necessary to make informed and impactful decisions – meaning significant sums of public money can be spent without addressing the issue.
This has to change, and it will only change by using monitoring technology that gives decision makers a full and detailed picture of the air pollution problem in their cities.
By creating a dense, high-resolution network of air-monitoring sensors and a visualisation and analytics software platform such as our AirIntel system, local authorities, health groups, businesses and communities will be able to assess air pollution data across an entire city.
The real-time data enables us to build an accurate and useful picture of exposure – creating a detailed map that can be used to gain a full understanding of pollution hotspots and provide real insight into which mitigations will have the most impact and best protect the public. It can provide information for health researchers or can be shared with the public to advise on the healthiest route for them to commute, or even where to live and work to reduce their exposure to air pollution.
Another solution, which can help to reduce the cars on our roads by encouraging people back into public transport, is the AirBubbl, our in-vehicle air-cleaning device, which removes more than 95% of airborne viruses and contaminated particulate matter, including airborne coronavirus. The AirBubbl floods the vehicle with over 30,000 litres of clean air every hour, creating and replenishing a clean air zone for the driver and passengers to keep them safe.
Rethinking our cities following COVID-19
Mental Health Awareness Week gives us an opportunity to reflect on a challenging year for all of us, but also to think about the society we want to create after the pandemic.
In much of the western world, we are on the verge of tackling the invisible threat of COVID-19, but we must act now to mitigate the long-term mental health impacts of the virus.
To do that we must reshape our cities and place health and wellbeing at their heart: by pedestrianizing public spaces, reducing traffic congestion, investing in public transport, and tackling the air pollution crisis before it’s too late.
Written by Matthew Johnson, chief science officer at AirLabs and professor of chemistry at the University of Copenhagen.
When Coronavirus struck at the beginning of 2020, Floris faced one of the greatest challenges in its almost 300-year history. The perfumer, which supplies fragrances to the British royal family and celebrities including Michael Caine and Liv Tyler, was forced to close the doors of its famous West-End store and move most of its sales online.
For a business which relies so much on the senses, this was a considerable setback, explains Edward Bodenham, Director and descendant of the founder Juan Floris. “Other organisations can continue to run when staff are working remotely, but you can’t develop and experience fragrances on a video call. We need our people in the office so that they work on new perfumes in person.”
One of Floris’s most famous customers was the nurse, Florence Nightingale, who made an early connection between ventilation and health in hospital wards. Nearly 160 years later, Bodenham had to solve a similar problem. Most of Floris’s seven employees work in an office beneath the showroom where opportunities to circulate fresh air are limited. “Understandably our staff are concerned about the transmission of Coronavirus when they are in the office,” he says. “We want them to feel completely safe when they come back to work.”
“We know exactly how fragrances and the atmosphere in a room can make people feel more positive and confident. That’s exactly what we’ve noticed since we installed the AirHavn Pro. People are happy to be back in the office, they’re upbeat and they feel like they can concentrate more easily” Edward Bodenham, Director, Floris
Protecting staff, safeguarding the business
With staff well-being at the front of his mind, Bodenham began exploring ways of protecting employees from Coronavirus. Following UK government guidelines, his team put in place social distancing protocols, installed disinfectant hand gel, and provided face masks for employees and visitors.
While these measures are effective against transmission via surfaces and large airborne droplets, they don’t prevent airborne transmission via small droplets, also known as aerosols. These persist in the air for longer and also travel further. “We discovered some filtration and ventilation devices that remove airborne viruses, but most of them were too expensive and bulky for our office. It was only when we spoke to AirLabs that we found a device that matched our requirements,” he says.
Bodenham and his team ordered two AirHavn Pro devices from AirLabs. Compact and portable, each unit combines advanced particle and gas filters that remove more than 95% of airborne viruses and and allergens. Initially Bodenham was surprised by the size of the units. “It was only when we switched it on that we realized how much power is packed into each device, and how much clean air it can pump into the room. They are also remarkably quiet.”
Smart design for a safer workspace
Setting up the devices was also easy. “We were able to tuck them out of the way, without having to move furniture or reconfigure the space. We have quite a large open plan office, but within minutes we could feel fresh air reaching every corner of the room.”
“We have quite a large open plan office, but within minutes we could feel fresh air reaching every corner of the room”
Edward Bodenham, Director, Floris
For a business that relies very much on its sense of smell, staff were bound to be sensitive to any change in the office environment and air circulation. But they were equally positive. Many have commented on the fresh and clean atmosphere in the office, while others have said that they feel more confident and relaxed knowing that Floris has taken every step to protect them from Coronavirus.
“As one of the UK’s oldest perfumers, we know exactly how fragrances and the atmosphere in a room can make people feel more positive and confident. That’s exactly what we’ve noticed since we installed the AirHavn Pro. People are happy to be back in the office, they’re upbeat and they feel like they can concentrate more easily,” says Bodenham.
Floris has an illustrious past, counting Winston Churchill, Marilyn Munroe and Ian Fleming amongst its most famous customers. Bodenham is now looking to the future with confidence. “Being able to prevent the airborne spread of Coronavirus is only one advantage. We also hope to reduce staff absences during flu and allergy seasons. Installing the AirHavn Pro has been a breath of fresh air, in every sense of the words.”
Read more about the AirHavn Pro
What will your office look like after lockdown? That’s a question that Andrew Moss, General Manager of brand and communications agency Horizon has already answered. By putting in place a range of safety protocols, including the latest air filtration technology, he succeeded in keeping his brand and communications agency up and running during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The well-being of our employees always comes first,” says Moss. “Wherever possible we helped staff to work from home. But there are some roles in a creative business that require people to meet in person and collaborate on projects.”
Horizon designs high-end point-of-sale displays for clients that include Motorola, Sennheiser and TomTom. “We help bring global brands to the attention of bricks and mortar consumers,” says Moss. “Especially when they want people to notice a new product the moment they walk in the door. It’s the kind of work that requires energy and interaction that a video call can’t always replace.”
Putting in place first-class air‑filtrations measures isn’t just good for physical health, it helps anxious employees re-acclimatize to the office environment. Andrew Moss General Manager, Horizon
Keeping staff safe from airborne coronavirus in common spaces
To keep contact to a minimum, office employees were assigned their own workspace bubbles where they could work alone or in small, distanced groups. Moss and the Horizon team also installed disinfectant hand gel and provided face masks for employees and visitors. But he was equally concerned about the airborne transmission of coronavirus, especially in common areas, such as kitchens, where people congregate not just to eat, but to swap ideas and discuss projects.
Moss understood that airborne coronavirus transmitted via small droplets, also known as aerosols, could persist in the air for longer than on surfaces. “When people came out of their office bubbles, I wanted to ensure that the air in our kitchen was healthy and safe at all times. But most of the air filtration devices that I looked at were either too large, expensive or complicated for our set up.”
When he first met with AirLabs, Moss was immediately struck by the efficiency of its AirHavn devices. “As a designer, I was impressed by how much engineering was compressed into a unit that’s compact and portable.” This made it easy to install in a quiet corner of the Horizon kitchen. “In spite of its size, I was amazed by how quickly it filled the entire room with clean air. It’s also very quiet which is important for a space where people come to talk and listen.”
Protecting physical and mental health
The response from employees has also been positive. As Horizon, like other businesses, emerges out of lockdown it hopes to welcome all of its employees back to its Cambridge headquarters. “Our business relies on the energy and confidence of the employees,” says Moss. “Putting in place first-class air-filtrations measures isn’t just good for physical health, it helps anxious employees re-acclimatize to the office environment.”
As a designer, I was impressed by how much engineering was compressed into a unit that’s compact and portable. Andrew Moss General Manager, Horizon
Deploying the AirHavn pro also puts Horizon on the front foot when it comes to the long-term health and well-being of staff. “As well as eliminating airborne coronavirus, AirHavn removes more than 95% of air pollution. It also gives us confidence that if future pandemics occur, we are ready to protect our staff, keep the business running and remain productive.”
Read more about the AirHavn Pro
To coincide with the company’s appearance at the UITP Asia-Pacific Conference this week, Marc Ottolini, CEO of AirLabs writes of the potential for air cleaning technology to solve the public transport crisis caused by COVID-19.
The public transport industry is under strain.
The global lockdowns at the start of the COVID-19 crisis led to a staggering 90% drop in revenue and the recovery has been sluggish, with revenues still down by almost half and not expected to return to normal until 2024 at the earliest.
Public transport providers have played a valiant role in supporting our economies and helping commuters into work during the pandemic, often running increased services despite significantly reduced passenger numbers due to social distancing. But they cannot continue to do that forever. Already we have seen a number of providers warn that their businesses are under serious threat, which will only get worse the longer the pandemic continues.
Customer confidence is at an all time low and recent research has shown that 70% of Londoners no longer feel comfortable with the idea of commuting to work via public transport, so how can we make public transport COVID-safe and persuade the public to get back on board?
To reduce the risk of catching coronavirus we must first understand how it is spread.
Everyone is now familiar with three of the key prevention methods – washing your hands, wearing a mask and maintaining social distance. These measures avoid people catching the virus by transmission from surfaces and from droplets, which can occur when in close contact to others.
However, there is a third, less well-known way of transmitting the virus, which is via aerosols – small particles that we transmit when we breathe out, talk, sneeze, laugh or cough.
Imagine them as the clouds of steam that you breathe out on a cold day. You will notice that the cloud is most concentrated nearest to you but can travel significant distances before dispersing.
Leading scientists have been campaigning for more attention to be paid to the airborne route of transmission throughout the year and the World Health Organisation and CDC have since acknowledged that coronavirus can be spread via airborne transmission.
Social distancing can help to protect the public from this invisible threat, however, evidence shows that coronavirus particles can remain live and suspended in the air for up to three hours in enclosed spaces.
Masks are effective at containing larger droplets, but studies have shown they can allow as much as 70% of infected aerosols to pass.
This means that on public transport one infected passenger could potentially contaminate the whole vehicle.
The role of technology
Ventilation is at the heart of the solution for airborne coronavirus but in a transport setting can prove challenging.
Weather and customer comfort make opening windows a challenge and vehicle ventilation and air conditioning systems can be more dangerous by re-distributing contaminated air throughout the vehicle.
The key is to be able to efficiently filter the air of airborne pathogens and deliver enough clean air to create a “clean air zone” for passengers and drivers.
Our AirBubbl in-vehicle air cleaning device does just that and is already being used to protect bus drivers in Europe and the US in addition to being used in private hire and patient transport vehicles dealing with the pandemic.
The device, which is roughly the size of a Bluetooth speaker, removes more than 95% of airborne viruses and contaminated particulate matter and floods the space with over 30,000 litres of clean air every hour to keep drivers and passengers safe.
The AirBubbl is the perfect device for small spaces, however the passenger cabins of public transportation provide a different challenge.
That’s why we’ve developed the AiroSafe, which is specifically designed to remove airborne viruses and contaminated particles from the passenger cabins of public transportation, including buses, coaches and trains. It does that by providing each passenger with a personal clean air zone at their seat.
A single person exhales eight litres of air per minute, while the AiroSafe filters an impressive 600 litres of air in the same time ensuring that every passenger seat is flooded with clean air.
Like the AirBubbl, the device filters more than 95% of airborne viruses and contaminated particles, as well as other harmful pollutants including PM2.5, PM10, nitrogen dioxide and ozone, which are known to cause heart, lung and other diseases. This means that it will keep passengers safe even after the threat of coronavirus has passed.
The cost per installation is low, as running costs are recouped with just one ticket sale and the per installation cost return on investment can be achieved within a very short time.
Getting public transport back on track
At AirLabs we fully understand the crisis that the industry faces.
It is only by embracing this new technology that public transport providers will be able to confront this challenge and see passenger numbers and revenues return to pre-COVID levels.
Marc Ottolini, CEO, AirLabs
Air pollution is without question one of the greatest public health concerns of our time, contributing to 9% of all deaths globally.¹
These health impacts have been brought into focus by COVID-19, as there is a growing body of scientific research which suggests a strong link between exposure to air pollution and mortality rates for COVID-19. Even a small, one percentage point increase in people’s long-term exposure to particulate matter raises infections and admissions by about 10% and deaths by 15%.²
This has caused an increase in support for action against air pollution. The public overwhelmingly feel that the issue of clean air is more important than ever before and want businesses to act now to improve air quality as we rebuild following the virus.³
We are already seeing local authorities start to implement new measures to reorganise and transform travel in cities by bringing in new pedestrianised areas and cycle lanes, so now is the perfect time for public health officials and city planners to take long-term action to protect the public from this invisible killer.
Air pollution monitoring – A shot in the dark
There is undoubtably a willingness from government, councils and the public to tackle the air pollution crisis across the globe. However, if we want to have a long-term and lasting impact on air quality then we need to act smarter.
Air pollution monitoring up until now has been a shot in the dark, as most cities only install a limited number of monitoring stations in a few sections of the city where air quality is expected to be a problem.
While this setup can indicate air conditions in a city, crucially, it lacks the ability to pick up on localised hotspots of pollution.
This is a profound issue as air pollution is extremely dynamic, fluctuating significantly in time as well as location. For example, monitoring pollution in London by Imperial College⁴ regularly shows that air quality can be four times worse in some streets than others, even within the same district.
Well-intentioned local authorities rightly want to improve the air quality in their urban spaces. But the limited data they have means that they are spending significant sums of public money to address the issue, with only a tiny fragment of the picture necessary to make informed and impactful decisions.
This has to change, and it will only change by using monitoring technology that gives decision makers a full and detailed picture of the air pollution problem in their city.
Around every corner, there is a unique story and that story changes day by day, therefore, it is crucial that air monitoring networks reflect this.
Smart cities need smart technology
A truly smart city is one that is interactive, using real-time information to make decisions for the good of the city and its population. As part of that, an air monitoring network should not be considered as merely a data collection system but as a decision-making tool.
By creating a dense, high resolution network of air monitoring sensors, city leaders are able to assess air pollution data in many locations across an entire city, every minute of the day.
From this they can build an accurate and useful picture of a city’s air conditions – creating a detailed map which can be used by city planners to gain a full understanding of pollution hotspots and can provide real insight into which mitigations will be most impactful to protect the public.
A pioneering project
At AirLabs we’re doing exactly that as part of a new project with ADEPT SIMULATE Live Lab. Working with Staffordshire County Council and Amey, we have installed a first-of-its-kind, dense network of 19 sensors around a busy road in Newcastle Under Lyme.
Our AirNode sensors, which are low cost and low maintenance whilst meeting the requirements for accuracy of the EU Air Quality Directive, are being installed on lampposts around 100m apart to detect the variations of pollutant concentration in space and time throughout the area.
This innovative project not only aims to monitor air pollution, but to test a variety of mitigation solutions in a real-world setting. Those range from using artificial intelligence to monitor and predict traffic, installing an active ‘green wall’ to absorb dangerous air pollutants and deploying e-scooters and e-bikes to encourage alternative transport options.
It will then use the in-depth data obtained using the monitoring network to compare and evaluate which mitigations are most effective.
This will provide a model that can be replicated by councils and city planners around the world to make impactful decisions on air pollution in a cost effective way.
Now is the time to take action for our cities to clean our air and protect the public. The appetite is there from the public, the technology is in place and we’re remodelling our cities in response to COVID-19, so let’s do it in a smart way to deliver real, long term change.
¹ Our World In Data – Air Pollution
² IZA – http://ftp.iza.org/dp13367.pdf
³ Global Action Plan – Air pollution and COVID-19 survey
AirLabs technology filters the air of the three major pollutants:
AirLabs technology filters the air of the three major pollutants: ozone, particulate matter, and nitrogen oxides. These species are listed as ‘criteria pollutants’ by the World Health Organisation. The criteria pollutants are generated from a myriad of human activities including industry, transport, and building emissions, and effect humans in every aspect of their daily lives. AirLabs technology is different from others because it is small, effective, and efficient. There is less air flow resistance, so less energy is needed than common air filters. Our technology can be tailored to treat specific the ‘pollution cocktails’ made of varying amounts of the key pollutants found in different urban areas.
Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
NOx includes NO and NO2 and is formed from the nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere when air is exposed to intense heat. This heat can be generated by lightning or combustion, making cities packed with vehicles extremely prone to this form of pollution.
NOx is particularly dangerous because it is a catalyst for the formation of additional pollution, including ozone and particulate matter.
Particulate Matter (PM)
Particulate matter is a solid or liquid state pollutant that comes in varying sizes. These sizes are represented as PM10, PM2.5, and PM0.1, ranging from coarse to ultra-fine particles, depending on their diameter. See the diagram below to understand the scale.
The composition and size of PM is highly variable and there are multiple primary sources. PM can enter the air through direct release from different sources such as fires or transport. PM can also be the result of reactions in the atmosphere, from NOx for example.
Ozone in the stratosphere, an atmospheric layer many kilometres away from earth, absorbs ultraviolet light from the sun, protecting life on Earth from this damaging radiation. In contrast, ozone in the troposphere is very dangerous. Simply put, ozone breaks many molecules into dangerous substances, such as acids and ketones. This also happens in the human body when ozone from the air enters it, leading to upsetting health concerns such as cancer. Ozone plays a large role in the NOx formation seen above.
Every year, during the month of November companies and individuals alike come together to raise awareness of common life-threatening diseases and cancers, including rare diseases that develop in the lungs. As individuals become increasingly concerned over environmental pollution and airborne contaminants, combined awareness efforts engage, educate, and encourage individuals and community leaders to address air quality; such as the presence of carcinogenic materials and air pollutants resulting from heavy manufacturing, traffic congestion and more.
However, although advancements in air monitoring and filtration equipment have made it easier for both individuals and communities to track and manage pollution, it is crucial to health, to know exactly how and which airborne contaminants and pollutants cause respiratory health concerns and numbers don’t lie. Nearly 1 in 8 deaths are attributed to air pollution, making pollution one of the largest environmental health concerns at present. Other environmental health concerns such as airborne asbestos or erionite fibers are just as concerning, so in observation of Lung Cancer Awareness month this November, we’ve joined forces with the Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center to raise awareness of harmful airborne pollutants and carcinogens to prevent their exposure and draw attention to the health concerns associated with air pollution.
Over the past 100 years, manufacturing processes have changed significantly. However, some industries still utilise carcinogenic minerals or additives for a verity of different purposes. For example, the naturally occurring mineral asbestos maintains fire-resistant properties under direct contact with an open flame. Once processed, the brittle and fibrous mineral became a common ingredient within thousands of products stretching across the construction and manufacturing industries. Due to the malleability and fibrous nature of asbestos, it found its way into a variety of different applications, world-wide including plumbing, HVAC, electric, insulation, roofing, tiling, cement, concrete, paints, gaskets, and other materials found in structures or machines built prior to 1980.
Exposure to airborne asbestos is especially hazardous, causing severe lung damage, inflammation, and eventually, asbestosis or mesothelioma, a life-threatening rare disease, which develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. Although classified as a rare disease, the only scientifically proven cause of mesothelioma is a result of asbestos inhalation or ingestion. Erionite is another similar, fibrous mineral, which has been linked to peritoneal mesothelioma of the abdomen, so it is crucial to health that workers in high risk occupations such as; construction, manufacturing, plumbing, mining, railroads, and shipbuilding are informed and aware of the dangers of such carcinogens.
Heavy Manufacturing & Combustion:
Pollution generation from manufacturing, industrial practices and combustion, vehicle exhaust, and even construction debris, can toxify and contaminate air quality with particulate matter and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), directly affect human health. Such processes produce, often-invisible clouds of airborne hazards that are known to cause respiratory health concerns including asthma, lung disease and cancer.
Depending on the source, particulate matter (PM), dust or pollen, mould spores, soot, and airborne acids, may also be released into the air as a result of the above processes, posing additional threat to health. With extended exposure, individuals may experience worsening allergies or respiratory issues and are at risk of developing more serious complications such as COPD.
Vehicle Exhaust and NO2
There are two main sources of air pollution: mobile sources and stationary sources. Mobile sources including cars, buses, vans, motorbikes or cycles, planes and trains, which each contribute to pollution. Mobile sources running on diesel fuel especially, release NO2 into the air, as well as PM, which pose respiratory health concerns such as intense asthma, coughing, bronchitis, among other issues, to those who inhale it. NO2 also plays a large roll in smog formation, which is prevalent in cities across the globe.
Vehicle exhaust also emits Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) including NO and NO2, formed from nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere when air is exposed to intense heat such as with lightning or combustion, making cities packed with vehicles, extremely prone to nitrogen oxide pollution.
With every breath of polluted air consumed each day, the lungs, one of the 5 vital organs essential to human life, are directly affected. Little by little and especially over time, lung function is impaired, which as a result directly affects blood-flow and health of other parts of the body.
World-renowned astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking once stated that, “air pollution is one of the top 3 threats to our global society.” His statement is simple, yet profound and based on fact as the World Health Organisation attributed nearly 7 million deaths to our global air problem, air pollution, in 2012. Considering this number aside the 1.69 million lives attributed to lung cancer, air pollution, airborne toxins and carcinogens deserve attention year round, in addition to Lung Cancer Awareness Month.