News Analysis

IAQ Monitoring for COVID: What’s in a Score?

Occupants want access to IAQ data. But it’s a battle between simplicity and accuracy.

We’re not far from the day when we will be able to walk into a building and test indoor air quality in real time from our phones, most experts say. The demand for this air-quality information continues to grow, especially in the wake of COVID-19 and the realization that good IAQ is linked with lower transmission risk. In the meantime, building owners are hoping to give occupants the reassurance they’re looking for by displaying the results of their buildings’ ongoing indoor air quality monitoring on public dashboards or displays. But there’s still a lingering question: will the average person be able to interpret the readings?

Current air quality monitoring equipment either provides raw data in forms like parts per million (ppm) or micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3)—fairly incomprehensible to the average person. Alternatively, some sort of software analyzes multiple inputs and makes a value judgment about whether the air quality is good or not, ultimately displaying a score, a colored icon, or even a smiley face.

Published July 6, 2021

Pearson, C. (2021, June 24). IAQ Monitoring for COVID: What’s in a Score?. Retrieved from