Intelligent door seal prevents poor air quality

Jun 05, 2013
On display at the Fraunhofer inHaus-Center in Duisburg beginning in June: the door seal system developed by IMS. Credit: Fraunhofer IMS

For a long time, heat insulation was en vogue – and nearly no one was concerned about poor indoor air quality. And yet excess CO2 hampers concentration. Now, researchers have come up with an intelligent door seal system.

Heated debates and no agreement in sight: the eight employees sitting in a small conference room have come together to get an important project moving. But after an hour, some of them have trouble focusing on the discussion, and some are even beginning to become drowsy. No wonder: the air in the conference room is stuffy and stale, and increased levels of (CO2) are making them tired and robbing meeting participants of their concentration.

There's only one solution: air the room out. Or else rely on the intelligent door seal system that has now been developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for and Systems IMS in cooperation with the Athmer Company. Users of the system not only spare themselves the effort of regular airing: the door seal is also 's worst enemy, insulating to provide a perfect indoor climate.

Indoor concentrations of CO2 are still a problem, particularly in newer buildings. " are becoming increasingly airtight," according to Hans-Jürgen Schliepkorte, group manager at Fraunhofer IMS in Duisburg. On the one hand, better windows and provide effective insulation - an issue that was long a major concern. But was overlooked in the process. "In many cases, the supply of fresh air still comes through an open window," Schliepkorte points out. "This has consequences for the energy efficiency."

Sensor measures CO2 concentration in the air

The electronically controlled door seal developed by IMS engineers opens or closes based on the CO2 concentration in a room. A CO2 sensor records concentrations in the air. If this value exceeds a certain threshold, a moves a spring to open the door seal at the bottom of the door leaf. The seal raises to permit an exchange of air inside the room. At the same time, the system uses building based measurement and control technology to activate the ventilation system to extract stale air from the room.

"Our standard is based on the Pettenkofer value of 1000 ppm (parts per million)," Schliepkorte explains. It was Max von Pettenkofer who investigated in the middle of the previous century and identified the CO2 value that, if met or exceeded, makes people begin to feel unwell indoors. Today's rules and guidelines based on DIN for the workplace set 1500 ppm as the upper limit and recommend a CO2 concentration of 1000 ppm. "We can achieve this with the aid of the intelligent door seal – without having to open doors or windows," Schliepkorte observes.

The door seal system is electronically coupled with building measurement and control systems. If a ventilation system or for that matter a heat recovery system has been installed, they can additionally be activated based on indoor CO2 concentrations and temperatures. "The system always calculates the best compromise between good indoor air and optimal utilization of ," Schliepkorte says. Beginning in June of this year, it will be in use in the Fraunhofer inHaus-Center in Duisburg, an innovation workshop for application oriented and market based research for systems in rooms and buildings.

Indeed, Fraunhofer researchers have already set their sights on further applications: in the future, the door seal may well also help regulate humidity in residential and commercial buildings. This may soon make mold in the home and dry eyes in the office a thing of the past.

Explore further: Energy-positive with natural ventilation

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Energy-positive with natural ventilation

May 17, 2013

Buildings can be air-conditioned using entirely natural means, without mechanical ventilation systems. This is the claim made by 78-year-old Benjamin Bronsema, who will be awarded his PhD for his thesis on the subject at ...

New green technology squeezes out building leaks

Apr 10, 2013

(Phys.org) —A new building-sealing technology developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis, will get a real-world test today at a Habitat for Humanity home in Stockton, Calif.

Air quality in schools affects cognitive performance

Dec 22, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Research by a team led by Professor Derek Clements-Croome at the University of Reading has shown a direct association between the environmental conditions in classrooms and pupils' cognitive performance.

Climate chief warns of 'urgency' as CO2 levels rise

Apr 29, 2013

The UN's climate chief called for urgency Monday as she opened a new round of global talks amid warnings that Earth-warming carbon dioxide levels were approaching a symbolic threshold never seen in human ...

Recommended for you

Large streams of data warn cars, banks and oil drillers

Apr 16, 2014

Better warning systems that alert motorists to a collision, make banks aware of the risk of losses on bad customers, and tell oil companies about potential problems with new drilling. This is the aim of AMIDST, the EU project ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy

Small underground nuclear power plants that could be cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts may herald the future for an energy industry under intense scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster, the ...

Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

A service is soon to launch in the UK that will enable us to transfer money to other people using just their name and mobile number. Paym is being hailed as a revolution in banking because you can pay peopl ...

Classifying cognitive styles across disciplines

Educators have tried to boost learning by focusing on differences in learning styles. Management consultants tout the impact that different decision-making styles have on productivity. Various fields have ...