The air quality strongly differs from one place to another in Brussels. But what about your street? This is exactly what CurieuzenAir will investigate. It is the largest and most detailed research project on air quality ever conducted in Brussels. We will measure the nitrogen dioxide concentration, a harmful pollutant produced as a result of road traffic, at 3.000 locations across the city. Here’s how you can help us.
Measure the air quality in Brussels as a citizen, school, organisation or company
How good is the air in your street?
Do you live in the Brussels-Capital Region?
Attach a sensor panel to a window at the front of your house and determine the air quality in your street. You will receive a detailed report on air quality at your address.
Are you a teacher?
Participate with your students in this unique research project. Have your students become citizen scientists and help to measure air quality in the street of the school.
Participate as a company or association!
Place a sensor panel at the entrance of your office building or near your sports ground. Together with your colleagues you’ll discover the air quality in the street where you work or exercise.
Where do we measure?
Do you live or work in Brussels? Any street location within the Brussels-Capital Region qualifies for the measurements. Families, schools, associations and businesses can measure the air quality outside their home or office building.
How does it work?
Participating is easy. A real estate panel with 2 sensor tubes is attached to a street-facing window. You’ll receive a measurement kit with easy-to-follow instructions. The measurement starts on Saturday 25 September and lasts for 4 weeks. On 23 October, we will collect all the sensor tubes.
How can I participate?
You can register a candidate site until 13 June. From all submitted locations we will select 3.000 sites across Brussels following strict scientific criteria. Schools are given priority in the selection process. At the mid of June, we will let you know whether your site has been selected.
How much does it cost?
You only pay when your measurement site is selected. We follow the pay-as-you-wish principle and ask for a minimum contribution of € 5. The suggested contribution is € 15. For the project, it costs us an average of € 150 for each site.
Where do we measure?
CurieuzenAir aims to map the air quality in Brussels with unprecedented spatial detail. From the Bois de la Cambre to Rue de la Loi. The air quality varies greatly from one location to another, and because of this, we need measurements in a lot of locations around the city. As scientists, it’s impossible to do this ourselves. This is why we ask citizens to help us with this major scientific challenge.
We have 3.000 measurement kits available. Families, businesses, associations and schools can participate by measuring the air quality on the street-facing side of their home or office building. Measurement sites must be located in in the Brussels-Capital Region, and we want to have a good representation in all 19 municipalities of Brussels. So don’t hesitate to invite your friends and family elsewhere in Brussels to join CurieuzenAir.
The measurement set-up is simple to install: a real estate panel that has 2 sensor tubes in its “nose”. This panel is attached to the outside of a window (just like a “real” real estate panel). The measurement is always done on the street-facing side of the building, preferably on a window on the first, second or third floor. It does not matter whether you live on a busy road or one with little traffic. On the contrary: these differences between streets and neighbourhoods are precisely what we want to map with CurieuzenAir.
Everyone in your street breathes the same air, so your neighbours could be interested to hear about the project and its findings. Therefore, we provide flyers and posters to inform your neighbours about the measurement results. Schools and companies can also receive an extra communication package to engage students or inform colleagues.
How does it work?
Participants will measure the air quality in their street with a simple measuring device: a v-shaped real estate panel attached for 4 weeks to the window. Two small sensor tubes are attached to the “nose” of the real estate panel. These tubes determine the concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the outside air. NO2 is an important indicator for the impact of traffic on air quality. Learn here more about how the sensor tubes actually work.
From all candidate locations, 3.000 sites will be selected. If your measurement site is selected, we’ll let you know by the mid of June. You will receive an e-mail with all necessary information. The measurement kit will be sent to you in September 2021. You can pick it up at a DPD Pickup point of your choice. It is important that all measurements start and end at the same time: the measurement campaign will start on Saturday 25 September and will run until Saturday 23 October. On the last day, you will return the two sensor tubes to the same DPD Pickup point nearby.
The sensor tubes are then analysed in the laboratory and the data is examined by the CurieuzenAir scientists. In February 2022, you will receive a personal report with the detailed measurement results of the air quality in your street. Together with our media partners Bruzz, Le Soir and De Standaard, we will also publish a detailed online map that features all measurement locations. This way, everyone will have access to information about air quality across Brussels.
Is my street automatically selected as a measurement location?
CurieuzenAir is looking for 3.000 measurement locations across Brussels. Registrations are open until 13 June. If there are more than 3.000 registrations, our scientists will select the most interesting measurement sites from a scientific point of view. On 17 June we will let you know whether your measurement location has been selected for participation.
The selection process will be based on strict scientific criteria. Most importantly, we want a good geographical distribution of measurement locations across Brussels (from north to south, from east to west). Additionally, we are looking for different types of streets: from narrow to very wide streets, from very busy roads to traffic-free zones, streets with and without trees. So if we receive multiple applications from the same street, we may need to select one of them. But the good news is that least one of the neighbours will be measuring in this street.
The concentrations of NO2 are dependent on height. This is why we aim for measurements that are as much as possible on the same height. The most ideal condition is a street-facing window on the first floor. Sometimes we deviate from this ‘first floor rule‘, and select locations on the second and third floors, because the location is highly interesting. So don’t hesitate to apply, even if you do not have a window on the first floor. Maybe your window is located in the very spot that we’re looking for!
Schools applying to perform the measurements are favoured in the selection process. We have a special information package for teachers, which helps with the measurement in class.
How much does it cost to participate?
CurieuzenAir is an innovative scientific project with an important added value for society. Therefore we believe it is important to be fully transparent about how the project is financed.
The actual cost for one measurement is € 150: this includes the sensor tubes, the analysis in the lab, the v-shaped real estate panel, the print material, the communication and the scientific analysis of the data. The project partners, in particular of Bloomberg Philanthropies, provide more than 90% of the project budget. As a result, the participants pay only 10% of the actual cost of measurements. Obviously, you only pay when your measurement site is selected (you will hear this on June 17).
It is important that everyone can participate in CurieuzenAir. That is why we only ask for a small contribution, according to the pay-as-you-wish principle: we suggest an amount of € 15, with a minimum of € 5. This contribution goes entirely towards the project, and is how we can carry out the CurieuzenAir project from start to finish.