"Air sensors" or "low-cost air sensors" refer to a variety of emerging air-pollution-measuring technologies that tend to be smaller in size, easier to operate, and less expensive than regulatory equipment utilized by agencies like the APCD.
While there are limitations associated with sensors, especially in comparison to regulatory equipment, they can support a variety of projects like local air quality research and analysis, science education, and leak detection and emergency response at industrial facilities. The relative affordability of sensors supports a greater number of monitoring locations, supplementing local air monitoring networks and improving understanding of the local impacts of pollution sources.
US EPA's Air Sensor Toolbox offers extensive background information on air sensors and how to operate them. The page below will offer information on APCD's air sensor resources and projects, which include research with EPA, local monitoring projects, and opportunities for collaboration with the public.
The APCD operates a Air Sensor Collocation Shelter at its Cannons Lane Air Monitoring Station. This allows members of the public to site their own air sensors alongside APCD's regulatory-grade monitoring station.
The methods used by air pollution agencies to monitor for common pollutants are strictly regulated by EPA and standardized at monitoring sites across the country. Due to the variety of sensor technologies available and their potential limitations, operating sensors at a monitoring site allows for data comparison and analysis and the development of calibration curves that increase the accuracy of lower cost sensors through data post processing.
The APCD is working with a variety of partners to advance air sensor technology and use the equipment to learn more about our local air quality. Here are a few examples:
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working with the APCD on projects in and around Rubbertown, including the use of S-Pods, a low cost, solar-powered system that combines wind, field, and air pollutant concentration measurements to detect emission plumes and help locate the source of emissions.
- In partnership with the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute and the Waterfront Development Corporation the APCD installed and interpreted sensor data at the site of a proposed Waterfront Park playground.
- The APCD provides regulatory data and facilitates collocation of Green Heart Louisville sensors at the APCD's Cannons Lane Air Monitoring Site to ensure their accuracy.
Air sensor technology and the use of it are rapidly expanding, resources like the EPA's Air Sensor Toolbox and others below provide the latest science on the performance, operation, and use of air sensor monitoring systems for technology developers, air quality managers, community scientists, and the public.