A system, method and apparatus is provided for monitoring and adjusting the quality of indoor air. A sensor array senses an air sample from the indoor air and analyzes the air sample to obtain signatures representative of contaminants in the air sample. When the level or type of contaminant poses a threat or hazard to the occupants, the present invention takes corrective actions which may include introducing additional fresh air. The corrective actions taken are intended to promote overall health of personnel, prevent personnel from being overexposed to hazardous contaminants and minimize the cost of operating the HVAC system. The identification of the contaminants is performed by comparing the signatures provided by the sensor array with a database of known signatures. Upon identification, the system takes corrective actions based on the level of contaminant present. The present invention is capable of learning the identity of previously unknown contaminants, which increases its ability to identify contaminants in the future. Indoor air quality is assured by monitoring the contaminants not only in the indoor air, but also in the outdoor air and the air which is to be recirculated. The present invention is easily adaptable to new and existing HVAC systems. In sum, the present invention is able to monitor and adjust the quality of indoor air in real time by sensing the level and type of contaminants present in indoor air, outdoor and recirculated air, providing an intelligent decision about the quality of the air, and minimizing the cost of operating an HVAC system.
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
This invention was made with United States Government support under Contract No. DE-AC07-94ID13223, now Contract No. DE-AC07-99ID13727 awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The United States Government has certain rights in the invention.