The VZ-87 Module for Indoor Air Quality Monitoring - SGX Sensortech SGX Sensortech

14 April 2015

The VZ-87 Module for Indoor Air Quality Monitoring

There are a lot of people who are interested in air quality these days. The fact that indoor air is often dirtier and more polluted than outdoor air is becoming common knowledge, and people want to do something about it. Clean air in the workplace, home, in schools, and the places where humans go for shopping and entertainment is on the minds of the public.

Everyone wants to breathe air they know is pure and clean, because they know the health consequences of polluted air are vast and can affect people for their whole lives in different ways. Even the air quality inside cars is of concern; the well-known “new car smell” is toxic because it comes from chemicals used to treat the upholstery and other new parts in the vehicle.

The good news is that something can be done about air quality in most places, and humans and pets breathing inside buildings and cars can feel safe knowing that the air is as clean and pure as it can possibly be.

What Contributes to Air Pollution Indoors?

Before the solution to air quality problems can be understood, the cause of such problems must first be addressed. The biggest contributor to air pollution indoors is volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are a group of gases that have low boiling points and occur naturally through biological processes, or from industrial processes.

VOCs are being proven, through extensive testing, to cause asthma and other similar problems, which raises the costs of healthcare significantly. It can also reduce productivity in the workplace by causing people to be off work sick for extended periods of time (if the air is seriously polluted at work, it is often referred to as “sick building syndrome”). If the health problems VOCs can cause aren’t bad enough, they also smell very bad and being in a place that has them is unpleasant.

How Can Indoor Air Quality Be Improved?

Air filters have been around for decades, but most only work to remove certain pollutants from the air, and not all of them. Plus, it was never really possible to know if the air filter was actually cleaning the air or not, because there were no monitors to check the quality of the air in the building.

Some filters were equipped with monitors, but a monitor on the filter, made by the same manufacturer, could not necessarily be trusted, as the company that produced it had a vested interest in making the monitor show it was doing a good job. As a result, consumers were left guessing. Some filters may have worked, while others may have really done nothing but made a lot of noise. Without a monitor, there was no way to be certain.

A new generation of air quality monitor is set to change all of this. The new air quality  sensing module, made by SGX Sensortech, has been developed to monitor the air quality in any indoor environment, including vehicles, homes, schools, offices, public buildings, and more. The specific model, the VZ-87, detects VOCs in the atmosphere separately from any air filter, so the consumer always knows whether those compounds are present. With this knowledge, an air filter that is doing its job can be kept running, while one that is not, can be changed out for one that does what it is advertised to do.

The consumer is always assured of having excellent air quality indoors this way. A monitor such as this provides peace of mind for anyone who is concerned about the quality of air in the buildings they are regularly in.

How Does This New Generation of Air Quality Monitor Work?

This innovative new air quality sensing module works by using metal oxide semiconductor chemistry. The chemistry is supported by a micro-electromechanical (MEMS) structure that senses changes in the levels of VOCs in the air, even subtle ones, and thus gives the consumer the real and authentic ability to monitor the air quality in the room in real time, and even see it as it changes (as it often does throughout the day in most buildings).

The technology that allows this air quality monitor to do its job so well is built upon methods which have been around for about a decade, and extensively employed in car air conditioning systems to manage air purity inside the vehicle. It has now been adapted for indoor air quality monitors and is a very sensitive detection method.


USB-VZ-87 can be used to monitor indoor air quality by simply plugging it into a power source

It operates at low power, so it is an energy efficient device. It has both digital and analogue outputs, as well as a pulse-width modulated output. Its programming uses a proprietary computing algorithm that allows the machine to compensate for even minor sensor output changes and lets the device be used without calibration.

In addition to monitoring for VOCs, the module also produces a signal that indicates the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air in the environment in which the monitor is located. This is useful, because carbon dioxide concentration is frequently used as a proxy measure for air quality. It is just one additional way this monitor allows consumers to be completely sure of the purity and quality of the air in any indoor environment in which they place the monitor.

The Future of the VZ-87 Monitor

The VZ-87 monitor is the first in what will eventually be a large line of air quality monitors. Plans are for additional models to allow for customization by consumers to get the exact features that are most important to them in air quality monitoring of their indoor environments. Other models will include options for monitoring temperature and humidity levels, as well.

These new models are still a little way down the road, but they are coming. Anyone who has any questions about the VZ-87 monitor or any future versions planned for this line of monitors is encouraged to contact an SGX Sensortech sales team member for more information.  You can find more detailed technical information about the VZ-87 by clicking here.