ACEP Researchers Install PM2.5 Sensors and Weather Stations at Study Sites

As the mercury drops here in Interior Alaska, data collection for ACEP’s electric thermal storage heating study is on the rise.

This fall, researchers from UAF have been installing weather stations and particulate matter sensors in the city of North Pole for an electric thermal storage heating study funded by the National Science Foundation. The study aims to determine how the use of electric thermal storage heaters, a type of supplementary heating appliance, affects air quality. 

Thus far, weather stations and particulate matter sensors have been installed at the homes of 18 study participants. Among other data, such as air temperature, relative humidity and rainfall, the weather stations collect data on wind speed and direction, which are important in determining how fine particulate matter (2.5 microns or less in diameter) moves through an area. The particulate matter sensors will collect baseline data on ambient PM2.5 levels before electric thermal storage heaters are installed in study participants’ homes next year.

The study has had setbacks. The land permitting process delayed the study by several months and reduced the number of households willing to participate in the study. Researchers are required to get land use permits from the University of Alaska to install anything on study participants’ property.

“The success of the study depends on community participation,” said Pride. “We need the data from the PM2.5 sensors and weather stations to determine if the use of the electric thermal storage heaters has any impact on air quality.”

If you have questions about the study, please contact Pride at