There are many guidelines on how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. What most people do not think about is how we can keep building spaces safe by preventing the spread of this virus even as we try to get back to work. This is why the Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations (REHVA) published guidelines on how to use and operate buildings in areas that have COVID-19 outbreaks. Below, we are going to look at some of these guidelines.

Ventilation Systems

We all recognise that the coronavirus can hang in the air for several hours and that is why ventilation systems play such a huge role in preventing its spread and slowing down infections. REHVA guidelines stipulate that all ventilation systems must be in working order and must be on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have your ventilation systems installed by a qualified contractor like BPC Ventilation Ireland, the only thing you have to worry about to be in compliance is to have your ventilation systems on at all times.

These same guidelines stipulate that the ventilation system should be put on their lowest settings when there is no one in the building. This is to ensure that any residual viruses are expelled before people come back into the building. In addition, toilets should also be on a negative air pressure system.

Using Operable Windows

REHVA recommends that all buildings that do not have mechanical ventilation system, must use operable windows. These should be opened 15 minutes before anyone enters a room, especially in cases where a room was occupied beforehand. In such buildings, open windows can provide additional aeration.

Reduce Air Recycling

Some ventilation systems recycle air, but this is advised against. Viruses can linger in the return ducts and re-enter the building especially in areas where there are central air handling units. Further, recirculation dampers have to be closed manually or using their management systems. If your building has a decentralised system that uses local recirculation, it should also be turned off as that could lead to the suspension of the virus particles in rooms.

Buildings that use heat recovery devices should also turn the off an instead opt for other systems. These heat recovery units can carry viruses from the exhaust side to the supply side leading to the introduction of the virus in areas that did not have it.

Some Options Do Not Work

REHVA mandates that you do not change the temperature or humidity levels as a way of preventing the spread of COVID-19. According to research, these atmospheric conditions do not have any effect on the virus as it is very resistant to variations in environmental conditions.

There is also no need to replace outdoor air filters unless they have reached their end of life and need to be replaced. This is because these filters are not a source of contamination.

As the world gears up to get back to work as the rates of infections fall, there is a need to ensure that we go back to work in safe environments. Changing the way that we ventilate buildings can have a massive impact on reducing the spread of COVID-19 and its rate of infection.

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