26 Oct 2017
Ramat Gan, Israel
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Are you aware of the levels of harmful pollutants in your environment and how they may impact your health? Most people aren’t. Sigalit and Erez Mutzafi, an innovative couple from Ramat Gan, Israel want to change that. Their RadGreen environmental monitoring system offers an affordable and accessible solution to this global health threat.

According to the World Health Organization, seven million premature deaths annually are related to air pollution. Yet, we have extremely limited access to information on possible pollutants and hazards lurking in our homes, offices, and outdoor spaces – and what action to take if we detect them.  “In order to make a change,” Sigalit says, “we need information.” And that’s exactly what RadGreen is providing.

An innovative couple is using environmental sensors to tackle pollution | The Switchers

The pollutant problem hits home:

“A few years ago, I was looking for an apartment in a new neighborhood,” Sigalit recalls. “My child was coughing at night and we had to assist with inhalation treatments.” This led Sigalit to start searching for the source of her child’s health issue. “I wanted to know more about the environment,” she explains. “I was looking for data about air pollution, noise, and radiation.”

But the information she sought was nowhere to be found. “I was looking, but I couldn’t find anything in the area,” she recalls. At the time, environmental monitoring systems were limited to large, expensive stations that only governments and big municipalities could afford. With too few stations in use, the data was neither comprehensive nor easily accessible.

“I wanted to know if I was raising my family in a healthy place,” she explains. “And I wondered who else might need to know the same.” Sigalit realized that if she needed access to this information when making decisions for herself, her home and her family, certainly others would too.

Sick building syndrome:

The US Environmental Protection Agency cites inadequate ventilation, and chemical and biological contaminants as possible causes of “sick building syndrome” – health issues that seem to be linked to time spent indoors, where there is no particular illness or source determined.

“We spend so much of our time indoors, in offices, in schools,” Sigalit says. Poor indoor air quality can not only affect our health but also our performance, resulting in up to 66% loss in cognitive abilities, productivity, and health. “We need to know what we are breathing,” Sigalit insists.

Accessible environmental monitoring solutions:

Because many harmful pollutants are not visible, they often go undetected and data is limited. Or rather, that was the case before innovators like Sigalit and Erez developed solutions like RadGreen.

Erez’s background in engineering and Sigalit’s passion for environmental innovation proved a powerful combination.

“We started (product) development four years ago and sold the minimum viable product (MVP) a few months later,” Sigalit says. The couple continued developing their sensors and software, constantly building and improving as they learned more about the customers’ needs.

“Our software and sensors are proprietary. Some sensors – such as the radiation sensor – are unique in the market,” Sigalit elaborates. “Other pieces – like some detection components – we buy and then develop the circuit around them to improve reliability and performance.”

From alerts to action:

RadGreen does more than simply identify environmental pollutants; they also alert the customer and suggest solutions based on the data they collect. Each time a harmful level is detected, a notification is sent to the customer.

“We provide measurable data and make recommendations for each problem according to each customer’s needs,” Sigalit says.  It can be as simple as suggesting open windows or improved ventilation if air pollution is discovered in a building. Or it can be as complex as involving a municipality or a ministry if radiation is found.

“We helped a school discover a problem that was caused by a nearby antenna,” Sigalit explains. The RadGreen system recognized a high level of radiation. Armed with the data provided by RadGreen, the school was able to take the issue to the Ministry of Environmental Protection who, in turn, requested the cellular operator decrease the level of radiation from that tower.

“We can’t take action on something if we don’t know where the problem exists,” Sigalit says. But with RadGreen, problem areas can be more easily identified and remedied.

Yarden Kerr, a former chemist and mother of three living on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, echoes Sigalit’s concerns and shows great interest in RadGreen as a concept. “My firstborn suffered from asthma and respiratory issues, so I started investigating around our house, looking for clues,” Kerr says. “I discovered that pollution and traces of radiation caused the coughing and lack of sleep for my son. It would be great to not only detect a problem, but to also nip it in the bud.”

Environmental solutions for Israel and beyond:

RadGreen isn’t letting international borders limit the possibilities. They already have demo units in Greece, Germany, France, and Ireland, with plans to continue to expand.

Although Sigalit initially set out to find comprehensive environmental information for her family, her hope is that one day everyone around the world will have access to that type of information in order to make informed decisions and find solutions. “When we are looking to buy a house or rent an office space, we can easily find prices, dimensions, and other details. But we can’t find information on what we will be breathing, if there is noise pollution that will drive us crazy, or dangerous levels of radiation. This information should be standard.”

Her vision is for Radgreen to become a data provider and catalyst for change. “In order to make a change from the bottom, we need information from the street level. When we deploy smaller and more affordable monitoring systems like RadGreen, we can collect that info and be empowered to take action and create healthier lives and safer spaces.”



Website: www.radgreen.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RadgreenPage/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/radgreen/?report.success=KJ_KkFGTDCfMt-A7wV3Fn9Yvgwr02Kd6AZHGx4bQCDiP6-2rfP2oxyVoEQiPrcAQ7Bf&_mSplash=1

Photos: Courtesy of RadGreen.

In addition to being a storyteller for The Switchers, Sunny is a Lonely Planet Local, a freelance writer, and the Founder of FROLIQ.Sunny Fitzgerald
An innovative couple is using environmental sensors to tackle pollution | The Switchers
RadGreen Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency