IAQ Sensor Development and Application

The Texas Allergy, Indoor Environment,and Energy (TxAIRE) Institute

IAQ Sensor Development - Perhaps the most needed new sensing technology within the IAQ community is the demand for small, reliable and inexpensive volatile organic compound (VOC) sensors. Of this category, the need for sensors that can detect aldehydes (more specifically formaldehyde) is great. Researchers at the University of Texas are developing a new generation of miniaturized mass spectrometer devices that will potential provide part-per-billion detection sensitivities of specific single VOC’s (including formaldehyde) at a sensor price that is under $100. As we are currently filing patent disclosures for this technology we must delay describing the sensors in more detail here at this time.

IAQ Sensor Application - In many applications of IAQ sensor technology, suitable sensors exist but the challenge is the effective integration of such technology into building systems. Two TxAIRE projects address this challenge. The first is installing “best–in-class” sensor packages into existing homes to demonstrate and evaluate the improvements in both HVAC energy efficiency and simultaneous improvements in indoor air quality. TxAIRE is working with a commercial company on a pilot project that controls ventilation demand based upon IAQ sensing.

A second project will integrate the new formaldehyde sensor that is under development into a VOC removal device can effectively remove this harmful gas from air recirculating in a building.