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CIBSE Confirms Importance Of Evaluating Ventilation Systems

CIBSE Confirms Importance Of Evaluating Ventilation Systems
13 May 2020 | Updated 27 October 2020
 

Before a building is reoccupied, there needs to be a thorough re-evaluation of air conditioning and ventilation systems, according to the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).

The institution, whose membership includes the UK’s leading experts on ventilation and air quality in buildings, has produced a series of guides for businesses looking to understand how their workspaces can be re-populated while minimising risk to their staff.

"Now is the time to check ventilation in homes and buildings to ensure there is enough airflow to dilute the virus in the air and improve indoor air quality. Ventilating for longer and opting for ventilation with higher airflow volumes will help reduce the risk”.

 

Increase ventilation as much as possible

 

Cleaning regimes are an obvious and visible place to start, however, it is also believed that airborne transmission is another possibility, so the ventilation strategy of all shared spaces needs review, says CIBSE.

CIBSE’s advice is basically to increase ventilation as much as possible, increasing the flow of outside air and preventing any pockets of stagnant air. Recirculation of air within buildings should be avoided to reduce the risk of transmission.  This may lead to an increase in energy bills.

Calculating the appropriate volume of outside air, and reconfiguring existing air handling systems to provide it, needs expertise, and CIBSE’s engineers are finding that their skills are suddenly very much in demand.

 

Ventilation is “a most critical part of reducing transmission from respiratory viruses”

 

"Now is the time to check ventilation in homes and buildings to ensure there is enough airflow to dilute the virus in the air and improve indoor air quality. Ventilating for longer and opting for ventilation with higher airflow volumes will help reduce the risk”

–Jenny Smith

Head of Marketing, Vent-Axia

 

 

British manufacturer of ventilation, heating and air conditioning equipment Vent-Axia, welcomes this focus. The company has already supplied ventilation to a wide range of essential projects including the NHS Nightingale Hospital in London, Kent & Canterbury NHS Trust’s COVID-19 wards; and field hospitals at Bangor University and Deeside Leisure Centre.

In a press briefing on 29 April 2020, ventilation was cited as being critical in the fight against the virus. At the briefing, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said “There is a definite truism across all of the science literature, that ventilation is a most critical part of reducing transmission from respiratory viruses.” 

This statement has added further weight to a raft of global scientific evidence which indicates aerosol transmission of Covid-19, thus making it riskier to be inside than outside a building.

Recent guidance from Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations (REHVA)  plots a way forward on how to operate and use building services to prevent the spread of the disease. REHVA explains that COVID-19 is an airborne virus and by diluting the pathogen inside a building reduces risks.

Jenny Smith

Picture: Jenny Smith, Head of Marketing at Vent-Axia.

Similarly, global guidance from The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) confirms the role ventilation plays in reducing COVID-19 risks. ASHRAE’s updated position document on airborne infectious diseases has a number of recommendations. This includes high priority being given to well-designed installed, commissioned and maintained HVAC systems and additional or more effective ventilation in the breathing zone. At this time healthcare facilities are a particularly high priority.

“As a novel virus there is still much to learn, however, there is now a raft of global scientific evidence confirming aerosol transmission,” says Jenny Smith, Head of Marketing at Vent-Axia.

"As such, being inside a building is a higher risk than being outside. This risk will also increase in the winter months when we spend increasing time indoors. To lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission inside a home or building it is vital to increase airflow and ventilate effectively. Now is the time to check ventilation in homes and buildings to ensure there is enough airflow to dilute the virus in the air and improve indoor air quality. Ventilating for longer and opting for ventilation with higher airflow volumes will help reduce the risk”.

Picture: Photograph of an open window

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 13 May 2020

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