This fall PEC participated in several weeks of air quality monitoring in its Pittsburgh office through the ROCIS project, which stands for “Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces.”
Air quality is a challenge in the Pittsburgh region, due to local industrial sources, pollution that blows into our region from the Ohio valley, and vehicle emissions. Our topography can further challenge air quality, as pollution can concentrate in river valleys. What most of us don’t think about, though, is how much of that pollution comes into our indoor spaces, impacting the spaces where we live, work, and play.
Although the project is primarily focused on residential spaces, it also loans out monitors for different types of workplaces to assess their indoor air quality. PEC got involved through our participation in the Green Workplace Challenge.
Through October and part of November, we monitored our workspace for carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, radon, and two sizes of particulate matter. Happily, our levels for most of these items were well within the safe limits. When our particulate matter counts spiked, they generally patterned increases in outdoor particulate matter concentrations. PEC’s office has two air cleaners, which are run occasionally. We now know that we can visit the AirNow website to monitor outdoor air quality and turn on our air cleaners when levels get high.
If you’re interested in loaning equipment to test the air quality in your home or office, there are opportunities to participate in upcoming cohorts. Visit http://rocis.org to learn more.