As we continue to envision what the "new normal" will look like in the coming weeks, it is imperative to consider the impact that indoor air quality (IAQ) has on occupant health. According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) "Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures."
What is Indoor Air Quality?
To best prepare for the future and to remain vigilant during this critical time, the air circulating within your facility should be kept as clean as possible. Monitoring air quality demands that a service provider be well educated to handle these systems. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is representative of the air circulating within a facility and the effects that has on the occupants inhabiting that space. Indoor air plays an important role by reducing the exposure to adverse pollutants coming in from the outside. Awareness and upkeep of the IAQ capacity of your building will provide long-term investments in a variety of ways.
Why is Indoor Air Quality Important?
Humans spend an incredible amount of time indoors, therefore maintaining a healthy stasis is crucial to quality of life. Poor IAQ can have adverse health effects, resulting in financial losses, absenteeism and lower productivity of a facility’s occupants. Paying close attention to disinfecting the air that travels through air handling units is a means of continually protecting the people visiting and engaging in your facility every day, and that investment can pay off in the long run.
How do we Protect for Future Transmission?
There are a host of innovative technologies that can improve the air quality of your facility and reduce the risk of future transmission of airborne pathogens. Looking at ways to go above and beyond the ASHRAE minimum requirements now will ensure the longstanding health of a facility. Making improvements to filtration requirements, utilizing ultra-violet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) and increasing ventilation within HVAC systems are a few advancements worth reviewing and TD is taking every measure to ensure the agility of these technologies.
ASHRAE supports the use of mechanical filters that can reduce the concentration of harmful particles in the air. High efficiency filtration systems coupled with the use of only outdoor air systems nurture a strong indoor environment. While MERV 8 filters meet the minimum requirements, MERV 13 filters offer enhanced protection from harmful pollutants by increasing the number of captured microns in a given filter.
Ultra-Violet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI)
Cooling coils and drain pans in HVAC systems are very susceptible to bacteria and mold growth, as well as virus propagation. Because these pieces of equipment house moisture through condensation, it is important to consider the implications that places on IAQ. UVGI works within a unit by destroying the DNA of bacteria and RNA of viruses, prohibiting reproduction and eliminating risk of transmission.
UVGI can have a positive impact on the lifespan of a facility’s HVAC system by reducing the spread of droplets. With the ability to kill bacteria, this method is effective in defending against the coronavirus and other infections. The application of UVGI can be costly at first, but the long-term benefits outweigh the latter. Installation of UVGI lights to coils and drain fans comes with minimal disruption, however ductwork will require further contact time.
By increasing outdoor ventilation rates, the danger of transmission becomes limited. Outside air circulates and moves stale indoor air out of the building, providing a continuous flow of new air. In doing so, this contributes to the overall health of a facility by keeping carbon dioxide levels low.
Inadequate ventilation leads to what is known as "sick building syndrome" (SBS). SBS can cause many health issues to occupants that spend a lengthy amount of time in an enclosed space that is not properly ventilated. Thus, results in decreased productivity, absenteeism and poor morale.
TDIndustries (TD) has developed strategies to provide powerful solutions in the wake of the coronavirus, equipping facilities with the tools necessary to stay safe and healthy. While the future holds many questions, alleviating risk now is one way to help flatten the curve. To learn about more ways TD is using advanced technologies to protect against future transmission click the button, and check out a TD created webinar-