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Where IAQ and C02 fit in the quest for indoor air safety and air quality monitoring

While CO2 (carbon monoxide) sensors can be useful for monitoring certain aspects of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), they are not sufficient on their own to provide an assessment of indoor air for human health and wellness, or comprehensive assessment of good or poor indoor air quality.

While many types of IAQ monitors exist for air analysis, they are not all equal find out what matters in air quality monitoring, and how that impacts energy efficiency of ventilation systems.


IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) refers to the quality of the air within buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of occupants.

Here are a few reasons why IAQ and CO2 sensors alone present a problem:

Limited scope

CO2 sensors primarily measure carbon dioxide levels in the air. While elevated CO2 levels can indicate possible ventilation problems, they do not consider filtration or any other equivalent air change methods, also, they do not provide information about other pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter, chemicals, or airborne viruses (also known as biological contaminants) that are known to cause health problems.

Multiplicity of pollutants

Indoor air can contain a wide range of pollutants originating from various sources such as building materials, furniture, cleaning products, smoking, cooking, and outdoor pollutants that infiltrate the building. CO2 sensors do not detect these pollutants, and their presence or absence cannot be determined based on CO2 levels.

Health risks

Poor IAQ can have adverse effects on health, including respiratory problems, allergies, asthma, headaches, fatigue, and other symptoms. CO2 levels do not provide a complete picture of the potential health risks associated with indoor air pollutants.

Compliance with regulations

Many countries and organizations have guidelines and regulations in place to ensure healthy IAQ in buildings. These standards often require monitoring multiple parameters, such as temperature, humidity, ventilation rates, VOCs, and particulate matter, in addition to CO2 levels. New standards are now taking air filtration and eACH into account in regulations, ensuring that health and wellness is not limited to introduced by the build environment materials (ASHRAE Standard 241 is a key example of this trend).

Occupant comfort

IAQ affects not only health but also occupant comfort and productivity. Factors like viral transmission, temperature, humidity, and the presence of odors or irritants can significantly impact the individuals within a building, and the productivity of a company. CO2 sensors do not provide information about these factors.

To accurately assess and manage IAQ, a comprehensive approach is required. This involves monitoring multiple parameters, including ventilation performance, effective air changes, filtration, VOCs, particulate matter, humidity, temperature, and other relevant factors. By considering a wide range of pollutants and factors, building operators, workplaces, and occupants can take appropriate measures to improve air quality and create a healthier indoor environment.

A better way to quantify indoor health and monitor air quality

Find out more about Poppy’s BreatheScore Monitor, a comprehensive approach to indoor air safety with typical IAQ monitoring and custom, precise sensor targeting and monitoring for vape detection, indoor wildfire smoke, and other customized detections and monitoring.

If you are looking for ASHRAE Standard 241 testing, evaluation, and seasonal optimization, see our lower cost option for real time focused testing and energy optimization.


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