Companies like Purple Air and IQAir, with air pollution sensors that cost under $300, have brought air quality monitoring to the masses. But when Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist Tom Kirchstetter looked at Purple Air’s map last year during wildfire season, he noticed a big hole in Richmond, a city of 110,000 to the north of Berkeley.
Roughly 85% of recently installed HVAC systems in K-12 classrooms investigated in California did not provide adequate ventilation, according to a study from UC Davis and the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Black carbon, commonly known as soot, is a significant contributor to global warming and is strongly linked to adverse health outcomes. Produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels – emitted from large trucks, trains, and marine vessels – it is an air pollutant of particular concern to residents in urban areas. Sensors available on the market today are expensive, making black carbon difficult to track.