Air quality project seeks volunteers

South Alive projects manager Julz Orr and South Invercargill resident Mike Joyce look over some of the information from NIWA's last air quality monitoring project in south Invercargill.

VOLUNTEERS are being sought to take part in a Community Air Watch Project.

South Alive projects manager Julz Orr said last year’s air quality monitoring project pilot into indoor air quality was such a success the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) was keen to extend the project.

“Following a successful pilot study last year, NIWA in conjunction with MBIE (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) is again partnering with South Alive to bring its Community Air Watch project to South Invercargill this winter.”

The project was launched in Invercargill and Arrowtown last year, with the goal to set up more Community Air Watches across the country.

Nine households took part in the pilot over a few weeks, and at the conclusion each household was presented with their individual data and reports, as well as cumulative data.

To ensure the results were more robust and representative, NIWA was hoping more than 30 participants would take part this year, she said.

“We’re seeking householders who are interested in joining the project by having the air in their homes monitored for three weeks.”

Volunteers would be given a small, silent, smart indoor air and (in some cases) outdoor air monitor.

The aim of the ongoing project was to find out whether polluted air such as smoke was penetrating into the home, and if the indoor air could potentially be improved.

Part of the research included looking at which homes preformed better and why, Ms Orr said.

“It may be that the house was too air-tight, restricting its ability to breathe or that activities within the home, such as smoking and cooking could also affect the results.”

South Invercargill resident Mike Joyce took part in last September’s pilot.

He described his rented concrete block flat as being “rather cold and damp”, with little insulation, but had been surprised by the results which showed spikes in particle matter and the carbon dioxide levels in his home were much higher than other homes.

Mr Joyce said he could share the data with his property manager to address issues about his living conditions.

“The information would be a starting point to help me understand the condition of the flat, and what may be needed to rectify or upgrade it… whether to make changes to the heating or ventilation or other ideas.”

Individuals, families, homeowners, rentals, or landlords were all invited to take part in this year’s project which would run from May.

  • A community meeting would be held at South Alive’s The Pod on Ness St in South City next Thursday at 5pm.