We are all focused on taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks, washing hands and cleaning/disinfecting surfaces. Some of us are taking steps to improve ventilation by using “air purifiers”.
While these may have a degree of effectiveness, none of these actions will stop it from being transmitted from person-to-person when we breathe, talk, cough, sneeze or when we touch an already infected surface.
Passive ventilation is the process of providing outdoor air to a space or building by natural means, not mechanically aided. It controls how quickly room air is removed and replaced over a period. In some cases, it is necessary to remove pollution from outdoor air before bringing it into a building, by using adequate filtration systems. This ventilation should play a critical role in removing exhaled virus-laden air, thus lowering the overall concentration and therefore any further dose inhaled by the occupants.
Good ventilation practices are already in place in many industry settings as part of everyday measures to protect against droplet and contact transmission. Good ventilation also protects the occupants against airborne transmission. The capacity to increase ventilation rates when needed (such as during the COVID-19 pandemic) may differ and may be somewhat limited by their original design specifications and implementation. After all, buildings were not designed for airborne viral hazards like coronavirus, originally.
Many buildings are naturally ventilated in various areas. However, if the airflow passage is obstructed by closing windows and doors, which is common in the colder winter months, airborne pathogen concentration can sharply rise leading to an increased risk of airborne transmission and infection. The design, operation and maintenance of naturally ventilated facilities is not straightforward.
The situation can be worse in public buildings and other tight and shared spaces, such as shops, offices, schools, libraries, restaurants, cruise ships, building lifts, music and theatre halls and public transport, where ventilation systems are simply relying on open doors and windows. In these types of environments, with lower ventilation rates intended to control indoor air quality, the likelihood of infected people sharing air with susceptible occupants is high, posing an infection risk contributing to the spread of the infectious disease.
In environments where it is difficult to improve ventilation, we can add products that can force in more natural air ventilation and heat recovery too. We can also use a blended approach which combines different technologies, including UV-C air disinfection to complement existing systems to improve overall air security without expensive mechanical upgrades or overhauls.
UV-C has been shown to be highly effective against a wide variety of microorganisms, including COVID-19. For your assurance, we design our systems to be suitable against even more robust airborne pathogens, such as Influenza -A, meaning your organisations will be better protected against a huge range of contagions, including COVID-19 and other viral diseases which may be transmitted in future.
(PP-L offers a wide range of some of the very best passive natural ventilation systems available for new and existing buildings as part of its product offering range. As with all products, we recommend what is best and appropriate for any given client’s criteria. Please contact us to discuss further)