(Home/Office) Environment Tracking?

Slowly getting into the Quantified Self movement, I’m starting to notice that most of QS is about tracking the human body (input, output, byput) and not really the environment around them (there’s not even a dedicated forum here for it).

I like to think that the environment has a huge effect on the human body and mind, are there people tracking it? and if so, what factors/parameters?

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I think you make a very good point. Alas, I do not track it - yet? - partly 'cos it didn’t seem to me that it would have much influence, especially as compared with exercise, supplements, nutrition and prescription drugs. But now you’ve brought it to my attention, I’ll have to rethink that. I do think that many background environmental factors have both an accumulative effect and probably very injurious - I’m thinking here mainly of the immense rise in cancer rates over the last 60 years or so.

Having said that, and thinking off the cuff, I suspect the most important of these may be the hardest to note: emmissions from air-fresheners, modern treated carpets and furniture, floorboards. The pesticides and fertilisers in modern foods can be avoided to some extent by eating organically.

Air quality, temperature, humidity is likewise hard to quantify such that it can be tracked, tho’ perhaps official data will be useful.

I agree that the awareness seems to be low, and as a result, there aren’t too many tools out there to track anything beyond temperature and humidity, but I did find some for air quality measuring. I figured on this board, there would be that one guy who has his home completely wired (for sensing).

Inherent in tracking everything about our bodies is tracking the environment. Anything that enters our eyes and ears could be relevant; that could mean any sort of nice, organized environment that makes us feel good and think in a positive, organized way.

Everything that we breath is relevant thus the details of the materials around us - and what’s in the air.

All things are on the table for tracking. Some things will be less significant adders to our overall life experience, sure, but until we’ve collected the data for decades and graphed the correlations, we won’t know the exact answers.

Now, it’s also possible to collect data that already exists - by accurately questioning people or tracking our own past as well as possible. This data isn’t as pure as collecting accurate data live, of course, but it’s still there for the collecting.

We really just need global leadership that motivates everyone to this task and we would learn amazing things very rapidly. The harder we at QS push, the sooner this global effort will really get going and the world will change in an amazing way.

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Netatmo personal weather station is one of the first gadgets in this space: http://www.netatmo.com/en-US/site

It measures weather (humidity, temperature, barometric pressure, atmospheric events), air quality (CO2 concentration and Air Quality Index), and noise levels, both inside and outside (it has two separate sensors). If you are interested, you can use MEAUSUREDME as a coupon when checking out, and you will get free shipping.

I’m reviving this thread to ask if anybody has experience testing the accuracy of the Netatmo CO2 sensor.

I don’t have a way to know for sure that it’s accurate, but it does appear to be precise :slight_smile:

Note that the sensor calibrates itself based on the assumption that the CO2 concentration will drop to 400ppm once a week. So if you never open your windows, the measurements will be off.

Do you have any particular goals on the testing? I’m curious to monitor exhaled CO2 as a measure of metabolism (with something like the EMMA), but I’m guessing you’re thinking more about air quality?

At the most recent QS Bay Area meetup I saw a talk by Stefano Schiavon, co-author of this paper on “Real-time monitoring of personal exposures to carbon dioxide.”

In the Q&A, Stefano mentioned that adverse effects of CO2 levels greater 1000 ppm but not above 5000 ppm may be due the effects of other pollutants for which higher CO2 levels serve as a proxy measure, rather than to the physiological effects of CO2 itself. He also mentioned that for his purposes of scientific research, consumer CO2 sensors weren’t adequate. This leads me to my curiosity about Netatmo calibration. If CO2 is a good proxy measure for air quality at relatively low levels, then precision is more important.

(For measurement of metabolism using CO2, you might consider Breezing.)

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Gary, wouldn’t a buildup of CO2 in a bedroom be simply due to a) windows closed and b) door closed, thereby allowing CO2 from a person’s exhaled breath to accumulate vs. having the window open? That is what I found doing my own indoor air quality experiments (https://www.quantifiedbob.com/2015/11/understanding-my-indoor-environment-part-1-air-quality/).

As for CO2 being a proxy, yes for example the FooBot air quality monitor measures VOCs and then interpolates CO2 from the tVOC value:


My Withings WS-50 gives a CO2 reading between 400 and 1000 PPM for my bedroom environment. Having the bedroom door open or HVAC cycling are the biggest factors for my situation. The owner’s manual gives no indication of accuracy. My focus list for measurements would be heart rate, respiration, Pulse Ox, temperature, humidity, and HVAC cycling. I think Noninvasive Blood Monitoring would be key to evaluating CO2 effects.


Hey, I totally agree with you. It’s been six years since you started this post. I don’t see lot many replies. I wonder if anyone in the QS community has done this kind of tracking? If yes, please share.