The University of Leeds Living Lab for Air Quality project launched in November 2017. It aims to build on our knowledge of air quality and pollution to help shape and inform action that improves the environment and the health of our stakeholders. It will drive projects that reduce emissions from vehicles and limit exposure to poor air quality, for example though our Landscape Strategy and Travel Plan.

The Living Lab for Air Quality has continued to expand and has already included collaborations between the Sustainability Service, the School of Earth & Environment, the Institute for Climate & Atmospheric Science (ICAS), the Centre of Excellence for Modelling the Atmosphere and Climate (CEMAC), the Institute for Transport Studies and the School of Civil Engineering.

New project: ‘Leeds City Dashboard’

Led by a team in CEMAC we are in the early stages of developing a ‘Leeds City Dashboard’ for visualisation of environmental data sets from the City. The concept initially envisages a geographic display of air quality and weather data from across the City, with ability to display time series and averages for specific locations.

The team will be holding stakeholder engagement sessions over summer 2019. Contact us here if you would like to be involved!

Campus Air Quality Monitoring Phase 1

During 2018 we carried out a twelve-month monitoring programme gathering, analysing and mapping air quality in and around the University of Leeds. Coordinated by Dr Cat Scott in the School of Earth & Environment, staff and student volunteers headed out to try their hand at measuring particulate matter across campus. The data we collect is uploaded to the CEMAC website so that it is accessible to staff, students and external stakeholders for reference, research and teaching. An example of the mapped data can be seen above, and the most recent map can be found here. You can access all of the data and the maps created to date here (note that we temporarily require controlled access to this – please contact CEMAC through the above link to request access).

Whilst regular mapping on campus is currently on hold, we are still running occasional staff and student volunteering sessions monitoring specific areas. Check our volunteering pages for the latest opportunities.

Campus Air Quality Monitoring Phase 2

Phase 2 of the campus air quality monitoring project is looking to develop and test low cost microsensors that can be used to create a live data network across campus. We are working towards growing the network out into the City to increase the spread of shared data and information with the Council. MRes student Daniel Jarvis is leading the trial, working with his supervisor Dr Jim McQuaid to scale this up, including through the installation of a new air quality monitoring space on the roof of the Laidlaw Library. In designing the microsensors the team have been working with Dr Kirsty Pringle with the aim of delivering a solution that can be used in citizen science projects to improve awareness and engagement in air quality issues in our local communities.

Indoor Air Quality

During Spring/Summer 2019 one of our Civil Engineering students is expanding the scope of the Air Quality Living Lab through his dissertation by piloting a project to measure air quality in teaching spaces across the University. Measuring particulate matter (2.5 and 10) and CO2 will give us an indication of air quality which will help us to develop our understanding of how various spaces are performing in terms of ventilation and their relationship to air pollution outside. We know that there is a relationship between air quality, wellbeing and productivity so we hope to further develop this research into this area off the back of this pilot in the future.

Commuter Exposure Research

Teams from the Institute for Transport Studies have been researching pollution exposure on our key staff and student commuter routes. Volunteers are carrying monitoring equipment with them whilst they drive, cycle, walk or sit on public transport so that we can compare how much pollution we are exposed to using different routes and transport methods.

A number of Masters students are producing new data sets during Spring 2019 through their dissertations. This builds on projects delivered last year by students Marie Godward (MSc Transport Planning & the Environment) and Hao Wu (MSc Transport Studies & Engineering) who looked at commuter exposure along the key routes from Headingley into the University campus. We will be sharing their findings here soon but a snapshot can be seen below!