Rangiora: NIWA needs your help

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Rangiora residents willing to contribute to a community project about the quality of air in their town are being sought by NIWA scientists to help with their research.

This is the second phase of the project, called Community Observation Networks for Air (CONA),  and  is set to revolutionise how communities can measure and control pollution.

NIWA air quality scientist Dr Ian Longley needs about 40 households with woodburners to help out until the end of September.

All you need to do is fill in a daily online survey about heating and ventilation in your home and install two small temperature sensors, called iButtons, indoors. The survey and temperature sensors will be sent to your home.

We'll send you the results

Once the survey period is over, and analysis complete, the scientists will send you results about what they have learned about your home—including heating habits, heating and cooling rates of your home and how yours compares to others. You will also learn whether you heat your home more or less than normal and whether you smell smoke more or less often than others.

Dr Longley says for scientists to understand whether home heating emissions are causing air quality problems and how these problems might be solved, there needs to be a better understanding of where and when the emissions occur.

“Data provided by the public plays a crucial role in enabling us to build up a picture of how emissions change under different weather conditions which we can then compare with air quality measurements.”

The temperature sensors detect at what time fires are lit, and whether that changes from day to day.

“They also help us understand how rapidly your home heats up and cools down. We are particularly keen to understand how much home heating varies across Rangiora.”

Rangiora helping build a picture of air quality in New Zealand

Last year the first phase of the project involved Rangiora homeowners testing new hi-tech sensors that provided detailed information about air quality, temperature variations and dust peaks. The town was selected as the ideal starting point of the project partly because it has an established problem of high levels of airborne particles on winter nights that often breach air quality standards. Information from this year’s study is likely to enable the scientists to progress to a larger study, possibly in other towns.

“We really are grateful to the people of Rangiora for helping us out with this,” Dr Longley said. “We are hoping this research will be a game-changer for how we manage air quality issues in New Zealand.”

It’s easy to sign up for the study, just go to www.niwa.co.nz/cona where you can click to register and find other information about the survey.

Contact:

Dr Ian Longley
NIWA air quality scientist
Ph 09 375 2096.