Houston, Texas is world famous for contributions to the fields of science and space. Continuing this tradition, the city is now home to the latest Village Green air monitoring station. The Village Green project was designed by EPA researchers to provide insights into new air monitoring technology and engage the community in their local air quality.
Located outside the entrance to the John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science (the Health Museum), the solar-powered air monitoring research station features air sensors and meteorological instruments embedded into a park bench structure. This is the eighth Village Green bench in the U.S. and will be hosted by the Health Museum and the Houston Health Department, who will maintain the bench and help evaluate the sensors’ performance.
Each Village Green station continuously measures two common air pollutants (ozone and fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5), as well as wind speed and direction, temperature, and humidity. The measurements are transmitted to a public website every minute: www.airnow.gov/villagegreen. The stations are all located in public environments, including elementary schools, public libraries, the National Zoo, a national park historic site, science centers, and a public children’s garden. Not only do the stations engage the public in learning about local air quality, but they have also been shown to closely compare with higher-cost monitoring stations.
On June 15th, representatives from The Houston Health Department, the Health Museum, EPA, students, members of academia, and the local community held a ribbon cutting ceremony, formally opening the new air monitoring station. At Houston’s Village Green station, a third-generation of the station design, researchers have added additional sensors to measure black carbon, nitrogen dioxide, and total volatile organic compounds and will be evaluating their performance. The Village Green bench will be incorporated into the Health Museum’s interactive health and science education experiences, which attracts over 2.5 million visitors per year.
Learn more about the Village Green project and visit the Village Green website to see if you live close to a Village Green bench. If you stop by, don’t forget to snap a selfie with the bench and if you share your images on social media, be sure to tag them #VGbench: www.airnow.gov/villagegreen.Tags: Community Health, Environmental Health, Health Promotion and Communication