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Smart Healthy Schools: An IoT-enabled concept for multi-room dynamic air quality control (01a Articolo in rivista)

Zivelonghi A., Giuseppi A.

Smart Healthy Schools (SHS) are a new paradigm in building engineering and infection risk control in school buildings where the disciplines of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), IoT (Internet of Things) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) merge together. In the post-pandemic era, equipping schools with a network of smart IoT sensors has become critical to aspire for the optimal control of the IAQ and lowering the airborne infection risk of several pathogens, indirectly related to cumulated human emitted CO2 levels over time. Thermal energy waste in winter due to improved air renewal remains of major concern but can be well monitored within a SHS monitoring architecture thanks to the flexibility of the LoRaWAN protocol able to process also a large amount of energy and climatic data at room and building scale. In this work, we report the design of the AulaSicura platform, an IoT control system co-designed by the main author and Gizero Energie to implement the SHS paradigm via clearly visible (and audible) alarm signalling in existing and new school buildings. The cloud-based LoRa system is capable of continuous and simultaneous monitoring of a variety of sensors and IAQ parameters including indoor/oudoor temperatures, rel. humidities and human-emitted excess CO2. The multi-room monitoring concept of indoor-CO2 levels allows centralized control of natural ventilation levels in individual classrooms and can handle (quasi)-real-time data, relevant for data post-processing and future developments in (quasi)-real-rime assessment of IAQ and infection risk levels at single room scale. The sensor network is also extensible to up to one thousand of classrooms per LoRa-node allowing centralized control of entire school districts at an urban scale. Moreover, through Modbus-LoRa I/O converters, AulaSicura can also control the same amount of mechanical ventilation units per node either in pure or hybrid mechanical ventilation modes.
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