Beyond Air Quality Monitoring – Breathing Life Back into our Communities: EMISSIONS & AIR QUALITY Smart Class 2024 Retrospective


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Winners of the Construction News Innovation of the Year Award, EMSOL enable public and private companies – across construction, waste, healthcare, logistics, and retail – to pinpoint the sources of air and noise pollution on their sites.

Founder & CEO Freddie Talberg joined us at EMISSIONS & AIR QUALITY Smart Class 2024 to delve into the problem of reliance on average measurements, and demonstrate how tackling spike pollution events with innovation that goes beyond “conventional air quality monitoring” can drive significant reductions in air pollution.

Following his presentation and Q&A, Freddie hosted deeper dive roundtable sessions with the support of Sarah Skelton.

Presentation highlights:

  • Aligning with SDG 11.6 for Sustainable Cities and Communities – By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management;
  • Examples of Proactive Monitoring/Pollution Management using the EMSOL approach – Croydon Council, HS2, Morgan Sindall Group, Mace, Quinn, Bennett, Merton Council, John Lewis, Waitrose, Vistry Group, NHS, Lambeth Council, Southwark Council, Kippa Bid, Cross Rover Partnership;
  • WHO Compliance Overview – Daily average NO2 use case;
  • What is the problem with averages? Averaging softens out peaks – e.g. “Night time data quashes down daytime data”; It also masks the total benefit your initiatives have generated; The key to reducing overall pollution is to focus on the spikes;
  • Real World Pollution Spikes:
  • NO2 events example – Nitrogen Dioxide is a gas. The combination of NO2 and nitrogen monoxide (NO) is known as NOx. According to 2015 Defra study, 80% of NOx gasses come from transport, and one third of that from diesel cars. Much of the remaining 20% comes from gas combustion from boilers. Max NO2 per hour readings evidence significant fluctuation and extremes over a one month period;
  • Noise pollution events example – LAFmax is a measure of peak noise. The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers noise to be the second most significant human stressor after air pollution. Noise has been noted to cause heart, immune system and pregnancy issues. Stress caused by elevated noise levels has been linked to increased rates of workplace accidents, and to increased aggression and other anti-social behaviour. Example readings over one month between 38.17dB and 90.72dB;

  • What and who is causing pollution spikes?
  • Core Platform needs to lead to behavioural change: Site based sensors providing powerful data analytics; Computer Vision – Deriving meaningful information e.g. ML/AI tagging and training datasets; Portal to transfer data – e.g. Instant notifications and real time alerts to mobile phone, Mitigation recording, KPI Reporting AQ etc to evidence Behavioural Change; Integrate noise monitoring into solution as “noise and air quality go hand-in-hand”;
  • Video Analytics for pollution causality – Air quality, instant alerts, video evidence, pollution attribution; Using ANPR to record a 10 second time lapse video to understand what was the activity in the lead up to a pollution spike;
  • Breakdown of Pollution Spikes – Identifying “Human based activity” and “Vehicle activity” in order to understand the mitigations; Tagging insights e.g. Un/loading, Sweeping, Leaf blower, Smoking, Vehicle Manoeuvring, Engine Idling, Vehicle Starting etc;
  • Is the emission from my activity? What and who is causing the pollution at a particular moment in time?
  • Exclusion & Inclusion Referencing – Building a Reference Monitoring Station to “help people to own the problem”;
  • Smart City Waste Management Case Study – Weir Road Management Facilities Emissions reduction initiative: Collaboration and data sharing between Merton Council, EMSOL, Wandsworth Council, UK Health Security Agency, Environment Agency, Reston Waste, Powerday and NJB; Real – Depot Site – How did NO2 readings change during May 2023? By looking at the patterns during a typical week, you may be able to identify and tackle hotspots to reduce overall levels;

  • Retail Logistics Case Study in Southwark – Kerbside compliance and allocation, monitoring environmental impact;
  • Sustainable Construction Case Study in Lambeth – Local Authority (EHO) compliance & data sharing with proven interventions; New approach vs reactive data logging; Pollution attributed to NRMM (Non-road Mobile Machinery), Road vehicles, Human activity, Tools; Reducing emissions from cooling bricks;
  • NHS Sector – Guy’s & St Thomas’ & Royal Brompton in London + Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Bradford, Watford, Southend and Taunton; Linking data to Procurement & Supply Agreements; Writing innovation into Clean Air Plans;
  • Sharing with Suppliers their IMPACT – Number of multiple visits when particular suppliers are the only vehicles present/moving where the pollution spike can be demonstrated to be coming from their activity rather than background levels; Recommendations – e.g. Main suppliers to discuss and share insights on vehicle and driver performance on-site, take suppliers through the journey if more spikes, consider a “must have logo on vehicle” policy;
  • Collaborative Supplier Engagement – UPS Case Study;

If you satisfy our regular delegate qualification criteria but were unable to join us in London on May 1st for the live in-person event at Greencoat Place Conference Centre, CLICK HERE and complete the short “Download form” (located at the bottom of the post) to receive a unique link enabling free access to the presentation video recordings and slides (including the film footage and slides from Freddie’s initial presentation).

Those qualifying to receive the rich presentation content from this event include commissioning, procurement, trialling, partnering and policy leads, senior influencers, strategic decision makers, environmental managers and planners from local authorities (e.g. city, borough, metropolitan, district and county councils); public and private transport operators/service providers; sub-regional transport bodies, combined authorities, integrated transport authorities and passenger transport executives; freight and logistics operators; airports and port operators; vehicle manufacturers; energy providers; potential partners from industry (e.g. retail, construction, manufacturing and waste management sectors) and healthcare; DfT, Defra, EA, BEIS, DHSC, UKHSA and other supporting national agencies; prime contractors; academia etc.

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EMISSIONS & AIR QUALITY Smart Classes show key buyer side stakeholders how they can deploy the latest digital technology-enabled solutions, data-driven strategies, policies and best practices to improve urban air quality and drive down emissions and air pollution in our cities and regions. EMISSIONS & AIR QUALITY Smart Class 2024 will be hosted in London on May 1st.


   London, UK

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