Updated: Jul 7
The issue of air quality is becoming increasingly topical. Not only is there a growing collective awareness of its importance, but more and more people are taking notice of the air quality level in their area and the factors that affect it.
But what do we really mean by air quality and how do we measure it? This article breaks down the details, explaining what air quality is, what air quality indexes are and why they’re important.
What is air quality and how is it measured?
Air quality is a term used to describe how polluted the air is, usually in a particular area.
Air quality can fluctuate depending on the amount of pollutants in the air, the rate at which they’re released into the air and how long they stay in the atmosphere. Poor air quality can affect the health of those who breathe it in, which is why it’s such a cause for concern.
According to our Research and Development department, there are two substances that affect air pollution:
Pollutants: breathing these in causes immediate damage, so they cause direct harm to human health. Among the most common are: particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, ground-level ozone and sulphur dioxide.
Contaminants: these substances contribute to the warming of the atmosphere and climate change and therefore have an "indirect" effect on human health, but that is equally harmful. Some examples of contaminants include CO2 and methane (CH4).
What is the Air Quality Index?
Air quality index (AQI) is a type of report that indicates the level of pollution in the air. It’s used as a guide to communicate air quality, whether good or bad, in an immediate and simple way, usually through a colour-coded table. When air pollution reaches dangerous levels, local councils and weather forecasters can warn the public using the AQI as a reference.
Each country is responsible for monitoring its air quality and producing its own index. Different countries use different point scales, or standards, to measure air quality and some areas don’t measure the same pollutants as others. All indices are based on the values of pollutant concentrations, whether measured, estimated or forecast.
Indices are important because they allow citizens to assess the levels of air quality themselves and decide on the best practices based on the level of risk, which is especially crucial for people in vulnerable categories.
Assess your own air quality with U-Earth’s air quality index
Here at U-Earth, we believe clean air is a human right, so we’re aiming to provide it for everybody through a suite of eco-friendly, decontaminating technologies, one of which is our biotech air purifiers, called AIRcels. This cutting-edge technology allows you to create a Pure Air Zone within your business – a clean air bubble that you, your staff and your visitors can enjoy.
The Pure Air Zone Index (PAZ Index)
The Pure Air Zone Index (PAZ Index) quantifies the impact of air purification through U-Earth’s products by consolidating the results of all the Pure Air Zones in a given area.
The Pure Air Zone Index is based on two things:
The operating time of the AIRcel
The number and size of the individual models installed
As the quantity of air purified by U-Earth’s devices increases and as new devices’ results are added into the mix the Pure Air Index will also increase.
What is the Pure Air Zone index based on?
U-Earth bases its index on the Indoor Air Quality Index (IAQI), which are a family of indexes. They provide a score from 1 (very bad) to 100 (excellent) which, like all AQIs, summarise the quality of the air and its safety for human health.
These scores have all been developed from international standards, specifically for indoor environments (such as offices, shops, companies). They take into account the pollutants that are typically found in each environment as well as their negative effects on health.
How is the Pure Air Zone Index calculated?
The formula for calculating the PAZ Index is expressed as:
H * D * N_Aircels * Purification Coefficient
H (hours of operation in a day (usually 24))
D (the days of operation, calculated from ignition)
N (number of AIRCels installed)
C (air purification coefficient corresponding to the AIRcel model installed)
A practical example of the PAZ Index
On January 1st 2022, a company installed the 100 AIRCel 70 in its factory (Coefficient 1).
After 24 hours on January 2nd it will have the following indexes:
PAZ INDEX = (24 H) * (1 D) * (100 N) * (1 C) = 2400
The morning of January 1 2023 – a year later – it will have:
PAZ INDEX = (24 H) * (365 D) * (100 N) * (1 C) = 876 000
If the same company had installed one AIRCel 600 – which is a larger model and can therefore decontaminate a higher amount of pollutants – on 1 January, by January 2nd it would have the following indexes:
PAZ INDEX = (24 H) * (1 D) * (100 N) * (140 C) = 3360
And on the morning of January 1st 2023 it would have:
PAZ INDEX = (24 H) * (365 D) * (100 N) * (140 C) = 1 226 400
To see a real example of the Pure Air Zone Index, download the U-App and have a look at any Pure Air Zone profile.