Pollutec 2014: the CSTB receives the Innovative Environmental Techniques Award

Prize winners Enric Robine, head of the Biological Agents and Air Contaminants division, Rukshala Anton, assessment and research engineer, and Stéphane Moularat, manager of the Air Contaminant Metrology department

Pollutec: The 2014 Innovative Environmental Techniques Award, recognizing public research with practical applications or for use in industrial development, was awarded to the Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (CSTB) last December 2 for its monitoring detector for determining indoor air pollutants, specifically fungal contaminants.
Developed by the CSTB, this system combines speed and modularity for a practical and innovative solution to challenges to comfort and health, as well as conservation of cultural heritage.

This monitoring detector is a useful tool to many stakeholders in France and abroad: construction industry, private and public building decision-makers and managers, and cultural heritage curators who want to maintain the quality of indoor air as well as the integrity over time of everyday objects and cultural assets (paintings, sculptures, etc.).

Mold can cause various diseases, including respiratory, in sensitive individuals (children, the elderly and immunocompromised persons). It can also substantially damage the material on which it grows.

To predict the health and material impacts and effectively use the data obtained, the CSTB developed a unique practical tool: a detector, integrating a miniaturized analysis system for reliable mobile applications.

An industrial preproduction run was laboratory tested. In-situ demonstrations are planned for 2015 in museums, libraries and archives in collaboration with the LRMH (Historic Monuments Research Laboratory), Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) and the French National Archives.

This project was launched in 2007 after the development by the CSTB department on Biological Agents and Air Contaminants of a patented fungal contaminant index that makes it possible to detect recent or hidden growth (for example, behind building coverings). This first tool enables detection of mold growth in indoor environments. The new detector continuously monitors the environment and issues alerts at the first indications of fungal growth, representing a major advance for construction industry stakeholders.

Detector for monitoring indoor air pollutants

This microsystem conducts a rapid sequence of sampling, transfer, separation and analysis essential to assessing fungal contamination in indoor environments.

The system’s modular design also enables it to analyze the environment for other pollutants.