A recent CNN article featured a Virginia gym owner who prevented 50 athletes from contracting Covid-19 by implementing measures to significantly increase ventilation within her gym. The extra safety measures were put to the test when one of her coaches contracted Covid-19. Fifty athletes were in contact with the coach, and all 50 athletes were monitored over the weeks to come. Thanks to the efforts of this gym owner, not a single one of the athletes contracted Covid-19.
Imagine one of your employees contracts Covid 19 and comes in contact with customers and other employees. As concerning as this is, there are actions we can take to significantly reduce risk of infection. Ventilation is something almost all businesses can focus on. Increasing ventilation merely means introducing fresh outdoor air and circulating this fresh air throughout your buildings. Ventilation is a proven way to help improve overall indoor air quality (IAQ).
We spoke with Jovan Pantelic* , our aerobiology and infectious disease expert, about how and why ventilation plays such a key role in reducing the likelihood of virus spread. Here are the questions we asked Jovan and the answers he provided.
|How does ventilation help with IAQ?||Among HVAC engineers, there is a saying: “Solution to pollution is dilution.” And that’s what ventilation does. Ventilation dilutes indoor airborne pollutants coming from various indoor sources, which reduces the level of contaminants and improves IAQ.|
|How do HVAC systems help with ventilation?||HVAC systems are responsible for removing particles and conditioning outdoor air before it is distributed to the space where occupants are. This is especially true in some regions of the United States and globally where air has a lot of particles that have to be filtered out, and it applies to both residential and commercial buildings. In regions like Florida, as HVAC systems deliver ventilation, they are removing humidity from the outdoor air, supplying dry air, and keeping humidity low for occupants.|
|How do HVLS fans help with ventilation?||HVLS fans enable circulation of a large volume of air, increasing ventilation, especially in spaces with doors and open windows. HVLS fans also continuously mix air and prevent creation of pollution hot spots through even dilution and removal of pollutants.|
|What role does carbon dioxide play in ventilation?||People exhale carbon dioxide. From a ventilation perspective, carbon dioxide is a pollution source. Some recent studies show that levels of CO2 can impact cognitive performance and productivity. There are still disagreements in the scientific community about the role of CO2. Some building managers continuously monitor CO2 levels and supply ventilation to maintain a CO2 level below 1,000 ppm. The logic behind this is that CO2 is a proxy for other pollutants, so if we keep CO2 levels low, other air pollutants will also be low. This is true in most cases but not in all.|
|Can ventilation help with COVID-19 transmission?||Ventilation plays a key role in preventing transmission of COVID-19. Infected people exhale or cough infectious particles into the air. These particles can stay suspended in the air for long periods of time, exposing other people that are breathing the same air. If we have more ventilation, more of those infectious particles will be removed from the space, keeping people safe.|
|What if outdoor air is not clean?||Sometimes outdoor air is not clean. For example, the air is very polluted during wildfire season in CA or near busy roads or factories that emit a lot of pollution. This is where HVACs play a key role in removing those particles before that outdoor air is supplied to the spaces where people are.|
Why Are MacroAir Fans the Best Solution for Ventilation?
As the inventor of industrial ceiling fans, MacroAir has a company mission of helping
improve the lives of our customers and their valued employees and customers. At MacroAir, we follow science, and we build industrial and commercial fans for life.
* Jovan Pantelic
Assistant Professional Researcher at UC Berkeley
Jovan Pantelic is one of the top scientists affiliated with air quality. He works for UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs and has researched many areas of air quality, including CO2, cooling slabs, airflow, people’s health, energy use, and employee productivity for more than 15 years. Jovan was one of the primary authors of the ASHRAE Position Document on infectious aerosols. He has also done a lot of research on this topic with over 50 peer-reviewed publications, with some of them in the ASHRAE Journals.