Smart sensors address humidity at University of Maryland

University of Maryland will install smart sensors to monitor humidity
The University of Maryland at College Park has installed sensors to detect mold. (Astrid Riecken, Washington Post)

The University of Maryland will enhance efforts to address concerns about moisture and humidity by replacing 50 manual sensors with “smart” sensors to collect a larger sample of data, according to a story on the university’s website.

According to the article, these smart models provide real-time monitoring of temperature and humidity, and alert facilities personnel if humidity readings surpass 70%. Upon receiving a notification, a technician will inspect the area to begin assessing and addressing the issue.

The sensors are placed in targeted areas within select academic buildings that have challenging ventilation conditions. Some of the buildings have small, compartmentalized office spaces with limited air flow, while others have spaces that sit below grade level or have window air conditioning units.

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Additional smart sensors will be installed in other locations as needed. The university has also set up an additional portal so that anyone can report air quality or mold concerns to Environmental Safety.

The university has been working for the past year to prevent outbreaks of mold after experiencing record rainfall last fall. Residential Facilities completed over 100 projects in 19 residence halls and 11 university-owned fraternity and sorority chapter houses, and temporarily relocated hundreds of students living in Elkton Hall to hotels so mold remediation could take place. Humidity sensors were placed in Elkton and Bel Air halls as part of a pilot program to help proactively monitor temperature and humidity. Similarly, the sensors take humidity and temperature readings, and transmit that data wirelessly to Residential Facilities staff.

According to the article, facilities Management has spent $30,000 on new monitoring technology and the installation of the equipment. The expected annual upkeep cost is $84,000.

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