An air quality assessment can be an important weapon in the fight against COVID-19.
A recent study has found that long-term exposure to air pollution can increase the likelihood of a person to experience the most severe COVID-19 outcomes. That’s why your company should conduct an air quality assessment and ongoing monitoring to better manage this risk.
The study conducted by Harvard University concluded that coronavirus patients in areas with high levels of air pollution are more likely to die from the infection than patients in cleaner parts of the United States. Particularly startling is the finding that people who have lived for decades in a county with high levels of fine particulate matter, are 15 percent more likely to die from the coronavirus than those in regions with one unit less of the fine particulate pollution (often called PM2.5, as these are particles that measure less than 2.5 micrometres).
The findings of this study could have far-reaching implications for clean air regulations as the results underscore the importance of implementing an air quality assessment in your building. In the UK, this is especially crucial as indoor air pollution has been found to be over three times worse than outdoor air pollution with campaigners of clean air referring to UK buildings as ‘toxic boxes’ because of the number of air pollution particles trapped inside.
The link between COVID-19 and air quality
Today, most people spend 90% of their daily lives inside the built environment. With this in mind, it is crucial to understand the potential transmission of COVID-19 inside these spaces.
A new study published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases (July 2020) found that coronavirus outbreaks are likely related to droplet transmission associated with air-conditioning within a space. This conclusion was reinforced in another study entitled, “2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Built Environment Considerations To Reduce Transmission.”
The authors of these studies recommend proper filtration and HVAC maintenance as a way to reduce the spread of droplets and reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2. The study also recommended window ventilation and greater spacing between tables as two additional measures that can be taken.
How to improve indoor air quality
The following steps can go a long way to improving the air quality in your building.
- Start by conducting an air quality assessment to see where air quality risks lie.
- Increase the percentage of outdoor air to potentially as much as 100%. (This can be done using the economiser mode of your HVAC system).
- Increase the total supply of airflow to occupied spaces.
- Disable demand-control ventilation (DCV) controls.
- Use natural ventilation strategies such as open windows where possible and safe to do so.
- Let the HVAC system run at its maximum outside airflow for two hours before and after occupied times, in accordance with industry standards.
- Use fans and filtration systems to help enhance the air quality. This can potentially remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles.
- Ensure that extractor fans in bathrooms are operating at full capacity when the building is occupied.
Remember to base your strategy on local environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity and to consider the ongoing community transmission in the area.
Air quality assessment with Smarter Technologies
With Smarter Technologies’ air monitoring solutions, you can observe and monitor your air quality in real time. This will ensure that you have full visibility of your entire building with real-time notifications. Our outdoor sensors monitor the air for pollutants and indoor sensors are perfect for insulated buildings where high occupancy affects air quality.
By harnessing the power of our privately-owned Orion Data Network, you’ll be able to conduct an air quality assessment that helps you stay compliant with legislation while protecting your staff in line with health and safety regulations.
Contact us today to see how the Orion Data Network can benefit your business and keep your staff safe.