Coronavirus should prompt ventilation review says industry

Coronavirus, IAQ, indoor air quality, BESA, wellbeing, ventilation

An urgent review of building ventilation strategies should be carried out to help tackle the spread of the coronavirus.

An urgent review of building ventilation strategies should be carried out to help tackle the spread of the coronavirus, according to the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA).

The Association praised a Harvard University professor who told the Financial Times that just as buildings can make things worse, they can also make things better.

The influenza specialist Joseph Allen, said that increasing ventilation and filtration rates “above industry minimums” would reduce the risk of virus transmission by 50%. The co-author of ‘Healthy Buildings’, said it was important to learn from the way SARS was spread in 2003 and that it was “quite easy to improve filtration and ventilation in most buildings…and increase rates of fresh air.”

He said most buildings were using “cheap filters” that capture less than 20% of airborne virus-sized particles and by improving these it would be possible to capture more than 80%. He called for wider use of portable air purifiers with high efficiency particulate filters – particularly in schools.

The BESA Health & Wellbeing in Buildings group welcomed the professor’s conclusions, but said ventilation engineers and maintainers should go further to deliver the right amount of air changes per hour not just minimum ventilation rates.

Picture credit: Adobe Stock.com/Monkeybusiness

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