AirOut (Sund ForLuft): Clever Cloud-light ensures better Indoor Climate in Classrooms
Sund ForLuft is two young inventors that turned a uni-assignment into a start-up and full-time occupation. The start-up is one of two that won an innovation internship after attending E.ON Denmark’s 2019 accelerator programme, #accelerateCPH. As a result, they’ve moved in to E.ONs Danish headquarters in Frederiksberg, where they are now working side by side with E.ON experts to develop a sustainable business model for their invention – a smart cloud-light that ensures a better and more healthy climate in danish class rooms.
Dangerous CO2-levels in classrooms
In recent years unhappy school children have been showing up on television to report headaches and tell stories of class rooms unfit for learning. The terrible air quality in Danish schools has had lots of media coverage. “We knew it was bad, but when we started measuring, we were all surprised that CO2 reached dangerous levels after just 20 minutes in the classroom” CEO and co-founder Kristoffer Jensen explains. “We had to develop a quick and simple way to solve the problem” he adds.
Designed by children – for children
The young inventors of the Cloud were assigned by DTU (Technical University of Denmark) to invent something ‘eco-friendly and completely new’ in one of their courses. The team of four class mates from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) then set out to save the indoor climate in Danish schools and kindergartens. When they asked teachers, why they didn’t just encourage their pupils to open windows, they were told, the teachers do not have time for one more task – even if it’s an important one. The team then designed the Cloud for the children and asked them to draw what fresh air looks like and what poor air looks like.
Through child eyes: Green is vomit, farts and poor air quality
“If we hadn’t asked the children, we would have ended up with a traffic light, and our device wouldn’t have worked” CMO and co-founder Valdemar Østergaard laughs and shakes his head. “To kids green is the colour of vomit, farts and mould. That’s what they drew. And fresh, clean air is blue”. And because the world is either/or to children – there was no need for the middle ground colour yellow of a traffic light. Either you open the windows, or you close them. The ‘plug & play’ cloud ended up turning red – the colour of danger - when CO2 levels are high and encourage children to open the windows. It turns blue when air is clean, and windows can be shot again. At end of their term at university they had a fully functioning prototype.
E.ON helps mapping strategy and sales barriers
“When we started at E.ON, we found out we had a huge bulk of work in front of us – we were not nearly as far as we thought” Kristoffer Jensen says. “This is why sitting here is so important to start-ups like us. Everyone is so forthcoming and we have access to a vast amount of experience,” he adds. Right now Sund ForLuft and E.ON collaborate on mapping all the steps Sund ForLuft need to take to turn the Cloud into a profitable business.
“A beautiful example of end-user driven design”
“The Cloud is a beautiful example of how design improves when companies dare to involve end-users in their process and meet end-users exactly where they are. We can all learn from that,” says E.ON’s Chief Innovation Officer, Lars Van Hauen.
How the Cloud works
“We purposely designed the Cloud without buttons – even when we develop it further it will never have buttons. It was always meant to be plug & play. The Cloud is one of the only devices measuring CO2 levels, who alerts users in real time” Kristoffer Jensen explains. Most devices collect and save data instead. But with humans not really being able to detect high CO2 levels as we do i.e. temperature – storing data is not solving the problem.
4 easy steps to healthy indoor climate:
- Find an outlet.
- Plug in the Cloud.
- Wait 24 hours, while it calibrates itself.
- Start ventilating, when light shifts to red.