Thoughtful Ventilation Design to Address COVID-19 Risks
As we learn more about how COVID-19 is transmitted, we look back on past global threats like SARS and H1N1, and consider a future where another health threat is likely. We can no longer treat ventilation systems like an afterthought. Occupants and visitors to a building — especially in a healthcare setting — need assurance that the air they breathe is healthy and clean. As a result, the casual implementation of standard ventilation systems in new buildings will no longer be acceptable.
Mitigation strategies to improve air quality
For existing buildings, owners are seeking assurance that their buildings will be viewed as safe. Many will consider mitigation measures, such as in-room UVGI and filtration technologies, to prevent the possible transmission of pathogens and reduce the risk to occupants. Before incorporating these devices, however, a complete understanding of the existing ventilation system, and the air flows it creates in different rooms, is critical.
Within the three primary types of ventilation — displacement, mixing, and underfloor air distribution (UFAD) — air flows are very distinct from one another.
As a result of these distinct air movements, the requirements for introducing in-room UVGI and/or filtration technology will differ depending on the ventilation system in place. Whereas these two modifications could potentially be effective, timely and economical options when deployed correctly, if incorrectly placed, they could cause more harm.
In the linked article below, Duncan Phillips, senior consultant, principal and global practice leader for building performance and ventilation at RWDI, discusses how in-room UVGI and filtration can be effectively deployed in different ventilation systems.