Denver improves air quality monitoring at the neighborhood level with indicative monitors that can be deployed in 5 minutes or less

The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) has made significant strides toward improving air quality in recent years.

Denver improves air quality monitoring at the neighborhood level with indicative monitors that can be deployed in 5 minutes or less
8 Clarity Node-S

added to the DDPHE air quality toolkit

<5 minutes

to install monitors and start receiving data

Hotspots identified

with flexible and affordable local monitoring

Michael Ogletree

Michael Ogletree

Air Quality Technical Services Program Manager, Denver Department of Public Health and Environment
“Addressing community concerns and improving public health are the primary goals of any air quality program. The Clarity Nodes we have deployed are placed near sensitive populations and projects as a way of better protecting the health of our residents and better informing our decisions around air quality.”

Denver seeks higher-resolution air quality data 

Improving air quality has been a top priority for the DDPHE in recent years. As one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, Denver faces significant air pollution from a range of sources and ranks among the 10 major US cities with the worst air quality.

Denver’s air quality is regularly threatened by anomalous air pollution events such as traffic congestion, construction projects, industrial upsets, and wildfires. Unfortunately, the health impacts of these events tend to be concentrated in disadvantaged areas of the city, making it especially important to collect data at the neighborhood level to understand which populations face the highest risk.  

As research continues to uncover the multifaceted health impacts of exposure to air pollution, communities across Denver have become more vocal about the need to understand and improve air quality at the neighborhood level.

As the Air Quality Technical Services Program Manager at the DDPHE, Michael Ogletree works closely with communities across Denver to increase the transparency and accessibility of air quality data where people live, work, and play. Ogletree is responsible for the planning and implementation of the air quality monitoring infrastructure that provides the DDPHE an accurate and current picture of air quality in the city. Air pollution, however, is constantly evolving, making it difficult to track with any single network of monitoring equipment.

Given the ever-changing nature of air quality in Denver, Ogletree needed a monitoring solution that could be rapidly deployed at strategic locations and allow the DDPHE to obtain local, accurate data within the constraints of a limited budget.

Sensing-as-a-service makes deployment a breeze

Ogletree contacted Clarity to set up a co-location with a reference monitoring station in Denver, which would allow him to assess the accuracy of Clarity’s data. After reviewing the co-location results, he found that the data were in line with his expectations and proceeded with ordering 8 Clarity nodes to add to the DDPHE air quality monitoring toolkit. 

The Clarity team was quick to respond and provide 8 Node-S devices in a timely manner."

- Michael Ogletree, Air Quality Technical Services Program Manager at the DDPHE

In addition to the accuracy of the data produced, Ogletree was drawn to the ease of use of Clarity’s solution. With a sensing-as-a-service model, all hardware comes pre-configured for rapid and flexible deployment, when and where local air quality data is needed. Each device is self-powered via a native solar panel and comes with a dedicated cellular data subscription, making installation as simple as placing a monitor in the desired location and powering it on.

The Node-S air quality monitor is solar-powered and cellular-connected for easy deployment and resilient operation.

Clarity provided an off-the-shelf solution that was easy to deploy. Clarity Nodes are easy to set up and after reviewing a co-location we had in place, the data was in line with our expectations. The flexibility in changing the data capture rate was key - I was able to remotely configure the nodes to collect data at a higher or lower resolution as needed.”

- Michael Ogletree, Air Quality Technical Services Program Manager at the DDPHE

Clarity Nodes can be installed without the need for a dedicated electrical outlet, saving time and money during deployment and minimizing future maintenance costs. The ability to deploy air quality monitors in zones without reliable electrical or internet service made Clarity’s solution stand out when compared to other indicative monitoring solutions.

Now that the Clarity Nodes are up and running, Ogletree can remotely manage and configure the devices via the Clarity Cloud. This allows him to remotely adjust the sampling rate of the devices to meet the needs of different deployment and saves him costly visits to the project site.

Denver improves air quality monitoring at the neighborhood level 

Clarity’s air quality sensing-as-a-service solution provides the DDPHE with a flexible and affordable tool to nimbly respond to air pollution hotspots. The Clarity Nodes allow Ogletree to rapidly respond to anomalous air quality events and conduct impact assessments at highly targeted locations.

One such event was a large rally organized in front of the Denver capitol building to protest social injustice. Ogletree was able to use Clarity Nodes to rapidly deploy air quality monitoring in this zone and assess the impact that any air pollution associated with this event would have on public health.

Michael Ogletree installing a Clarity Node-S outside of the Colorado State Capitol Building.
Clarity has provided an incredibly flexible air quality monitoring solution that works right out of the box. Within 5 minutes of leaving my office I can have a Clarity Node-S installed and capturing data, which allows me to very quickly capture and characterize air quality in specific locations."

- Michael Ogletree, Air Quality Technical Services Program Manager at the DDPHE
Denver residents in front of Denver capitol building during a Black Lives Matter protest, with a Node-S monitor deployed on the streetlamp pole to monitor air quality during the event.

Clarity’s sensing-as-a-service solution has enabled Ogletree to improve the resolution of his air quality monitoring network and provides an affordable means of addressing community concerns. The Clarity Nodes complement Denver’s other air quality initiatives, such as the hugely successful “Love My Air Denver” program, which has deployed air quality monitoring at schools and other strategic sites across Denver.

Clarity Node-S air quality monitors provide the DDPHE with the flexibility to effectively respond to air pollution hotspots, when and where they strike.

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