A recent study from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that building controls for air flow can help reduce the transmission of airborne illness. The researchers cited controls such as ventilation, filtration, airflow management and disinfection with germicidal UV lights as effective in reducing transmission. According to researcher Rengie Chan, “indoor environmental controls can be effective against transmission. Implementing building controls effectively and at scale while considering operational challenges and energy costs are critically important to support in-person activities in schools, offices, and other types of indoor spaces where people gather.”
As a commercial plumbing and HVAC company, we specialize in designing HVAC systems for multi-unit commercial spaces like hotels, apartment buildings and office buildings. So we know how essential HVAC technology is to the comfort and safety of our project’s occupants. So how exactly does HVAC design help? Here’s what the researchers at Berkeley found. Using a computer simulation, they measured how quickly respiratory aerosols (the droplets we spew when talking, coughing or sneezing) travel throughout a room. Typically, these aerosol droplets mix with a room’s air supply in minutes, but when the researchers adjusted building controls to improve ventilation and filtering, the aerosols were quickly removed!
So what kind of controls can you add to an HVAC system to improve air quality? Here are a few we recommend:
- HEPA grade filters: Higher-rated HEPA air filters are the most adept at catching particles and preventing the transmission of aerosols, dust, dirt, or indoor pollution. Filters with a HEPA rating of 13 or higher can capture airborne viruses as long as the HVAC system is capable of pushing air through the tighter filter.
- UVC light and filtration systems: Another effective control is using UVC light or filtering systems. This technology uses the power of UVC light to destroy contaminants on surfaces. You can now install these lights in HVAC systems to kill microbes before they are transmitted throughout the building and keep your HVAC system clean. You can use many systems: cooling coil disinfecting systems, duct and upper airway systems, surface disinfecting systems, and ultraviolet light air purification systems.
- Oxidation and ionization purification systems: Like UVC systems, this technology destroys particles in the air. Many healthcare facilities utilize this technology because it’s highly effective. There are different types of systems you can use, including bipolar ionization.
Even with added controls and technologies like these, excellent HVAC design is one of the best tools for improving air quality in buildings. Our team can design the HVAC system for your next project to improve airflow and ventilation. We can also add safety controls like these to increase air quality. If you’re looking for the safest and best air quality for your next project, it starts with a highly experienced HVAC team like ours. Call today, and let’s start talking about the details of your next build. (801) 254-4038