Photo: Thomas Hjort Jensen

Small cloud improves indoor climate in classrooms

Tuesday 27 Feb 18

The blue cloud turns red when ventilation is required.

Foto Thomas Hjort Jensen
Students have developed an indoor climate indicator which promotes good ventilation practices and which may help improve the indoor climate in classrooms.

Schoolchildren in Denmark are not just challenged academically. In nine out of ten classrooms, the children’s learning is hampered by excessive CO2 levels. In fact, their performance can be boosted by up to 10 per cent, or the equivalent of almost a whole extra ’free’ school year, if this problem is resolved. A team of BEng students have decided to do just that by means of a small shining cloud.

Reducing CO2 levels in classrooms does not necessarily require big ventilation systems—in fact, regular ventilation is all it takes. But often we simply forget to open the windows during the day.
The solution developed by the students is an indicator that warns pupils and teachers about excessive CO2 levels, so they open the windows when needed, and which also indicates when the room has been ventilated sufficiently, and an optimum indoor climate has been restored.

‘Skyen’ (the cloud), which is the name of the unit, is a neat little indoor climate indicator for wall mounting in classrooms. The team behind ‘Skyen’—Troels William Krogh Bertelsen, Valdemar Østergaard, and Christoffer Junker Elmelund, who are all BEng students, came up with the idea while doing the Green Entrepreneurship course in 2016 together with their fellow student Kristoffer Jensen, who has since started studying at Copenhagen Business School.

On the course, they became aware of the issue and discovered that the CO2 level is the most important and by far the most common indicator of indoor climate quality, across geographical variations.
The first prototype was produced during the ensuing three-week teaching period. To ensure that the solution would work for users, they contacted a school class. They asked the children to illustrate a good and a poor indoor climate in order to find out what colours and signal values the children associated with the indoor climate. At the same time, interviews with teachers gave the students a clear understanding of their typical needs and challenges.

Ready for the market
‘Skyen’ won second prize in the Green Challenge 2016 student competition, but most importantly, the competition established contacts with interested business professionals who went on to become mentors for the project.

Learning more about product and business development is an important aspect for the team behind the project.

“Our driving force is learning—every time we do something, we learn something new. In this project, the greatest lesson learnt is probably having realised when we needed help,” says Valdemar Østergaard.
“We have, for example, had help getting the PCB ready for production and the mould ready for injection moulding.

The mentors have also been good at helping the team staying focused on identifying the right market for ‘Skyen’, and finding out where the greatest potential is. In continuation of the maturation process, the team behind the project has been on a tour of a number of primary and secondary schools to follow up on whether the finished product has all the features needed to improve ventilation practices in classrooms.

As soon as the final pilot tests in a number of real classrooms have been completed, ‘Skyen’ will be ready to take off.


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