Initiatives related to the sustainability of our planet are gaining great traction - and for good reason.
One of these is healthy homes technology startup Tether, a company offering the EnviroQ, which is a battery (or mains) powered indoor environmental quality monitoring system for housing, schools, and work environments that intends to ensure quality living, learning, and working conditions all year round.
It boasts a battery life of three years on six AA batteries while measuring indoor temperature, humidity, CO2, lighting levels, ambient noise levels, air pressure, and dew point, all reporting to a central online dashboard and mobile app.
And now, Tether’s ranks have been bolstered by New Zealand green buildings expert Rochelle Payne who has taken an equity share in the company having been impressed with the technology’s ability to redefine how green buildings are built.
Payne, an accredited professional in LEED, BREEAM, Green Star NZ and Homestar, as well as being a Passive House Consultant, says what makes the technology unique is that it goes beyond design to measure in real-time what happens when humans occupy a space.
“Until now, there was no way to measure how the theory of design actually performs – we could always measure the potential, but not the actual.”
“To date the only way we have been able to evaluate green buildings and healthy homes was by design and construction based evaluation, but that doesn’t look at the operation – we have never actually been able to verify that the green buildings we construct do what we say they can do.”
Payne says the data collected by Tether can change how buildings can be built to make them truly healthy.
“Tether measures the actual environmental quality of living, learning and working spaces, and that’s just the beginning. Finally we can focus on how people impact a building – how they are occupying them,” says Payne.
According to Payne, there are effectively two types of homes in New Zealand.
“Old building stock which was built to old building codes, so they have issues with moisture, mould and drafts that lead to illnesses like asthma – the home is letting things in you don't want – because they create unhealthy nesting environment,” says Payne.
“And then we have new buildings built to the current building code, which have insulation and double glazing, but they are airtight and ventilation is often inadequate. Modern design favours very big windows which cause over-heating and the only extractors we have are in the kitchen and bathroom – the result is poor indoor environment quality .”
Payne is confident Tether can provide the answer.
“Tether can help us accurately figure out what’s working and what isn’t because it actively monitors the indoor environment 24/7 and reports on the day-to-day impact of people living in a home,” Payne concludes.