As the COVID pandemic continues to affect people and businesses globally, our understanding of the virus deepens. This better understanding allows the medical community to advise building owners and managers on healthy building strategies to reduce COVID risk. For example, a recent report from the Lancet COVID-19 Commission details four strategies building owners and facilities managers should implement to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. The commission’s report advises concentrating efforts on reducing the aerosol transmission of the virus through filtration and ventilation.
4 Healthy Building Strategies to Reduce COVID Risk
Implementing the following four healthy building strategies helps reduce COVID risk. Facilities managers who use these strategies to improve filtration and ventilation create safer indoor environments for building occupants.
1. Improve HVAC Systems
The first step for creating healthy building strategies to reduce COVID risk is improving and maintaining HVAC systems. WTI — Pure Air Control Services offers a suite of services to health facilities managers do this.
HVAC Hygiene Assessment
Toward the goal of reducing COVID risk, an HVAC Hygiene Assessment provides building owners with valuable information on the HVAC system’s performance. It is a gauge of the impact the system has on indoor conditions. Our environmental diagnostic lab conducts non-disruptive biosurveillance for COVID-19 exposure within the facilities. Samples collected from within the AHU also undergo testing at the EDLab. As well, performance testing determines if there is any impact on pressure or airflow across the evaporator coils.
The assessment gives facilities managers the data needed to make improvements. It lowers the risk of COVID transmission but also includes other testing and analysis to improve the efficiency of the system. This includes airflow and energy efficiency testing, duct leakage, building pressure analysis, and more.
HVAC New Life
Another method for creating healthy buildings and reducing COVID risk is HVAC New Life. This includes services such as PURE-Decon which destroys pathogens with EPA-certified electrostatic DEP sprayers. Also, the application of PURE-Coat prevents corrosion and microbial growth in addition to prolonging the lifespan of the system. PURE-Coil and PURE-Liner add extra protection to the evaporator coil and drain pain. This HVAC restoration service cleans, disinfects, and protects components and improves efficiency.
PURE-Duct and PURE-Steam
Over time the HVAC system components collect dirt and dust which degrades performance. To correct this problem, the PURE-Duct method gets deep inside the HVAC ductwork to knock out and then remove debris using a vacuum system equipped with a HEPA filter. Additionally, the PURE-Steam method uses high-temperature steam to clean the HVAC interior.
2. Improve Ventilation
Another key strategy to reducing COVID risk and creating healthy buildings is improved ventilation. In other words, maximizing the amount of clean fresh air brought into the building. This is done through the HVAC system or by opening windows to improve airflow. There are several steps facilities managers can take to improve ventilation and reduce COVID risk. This includes cleaning evaporator coils and air handling units. Also, keeping the supply and return ductwork clean ensures cleaner healthier air. Monitoring indoor environmental conditions with a service such as IAQ Guard also helps achieve optimal ventilation.
3. Upgrade Air Filters
Upgrading air filters in the HVAC system is another effective way to reduce COVID risk and create healthy buildings. The Lancet report recommends upgrading to filters with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating of 13 or higher. This reduces the number of airborne particles as well as infectious disease transmission. Filters are also effective in removing other particulates from recirculated air. This includes dust, mold, bacteria, and organic volatile chemicals.
4. Portable Air Cleaners
Studies show that the use of portable air cleaners provides added protection against the spread of virus transmission and reduces COVID risk. An air cleaning device using EnviroSmart™ detection technology adjusts performance according to room conditions and occupancy. This reduces energy consumption and prolongs the life of the filter. A model such as the Aeramax Professional II portable air-cleaning machine uses carbon filtration to absorb odors and VOCs. It also features a True HEPA filtration system that traps 99.97 percent of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. This includes pollutants such as bacteria, mold, and viruses.
Learn More About Healthy Building Strategies to Reduce COVID Risk
Lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission in your facilities. Implement the strategies above and protect building occupants. To learn more contact WTI – Pure Air Control today.