Adapting For A Safer Future: The Impact of Covid-19
Covid-19 has made a permanent mark on our lives and has driven significant changes in technology, business operations, and everyday living. Essential functions need to adapt in order to keep us safer in the future. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems are part of that first step in creating that future.
The nature of the coronavirus Covid-19 makes it easily transmitted to others who are in close proximity. The current social distancing parameters are in place because the virus is spread via respiratory droplets or small particles produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. This is where HVAC systems can make the biggest impact in the home and commercially.
Airplanes are able to keep fresh air circulating because of their high Air Change per Hour rate (ACH) which is anywhere from 20 to 30 times per hour. Existing HVAC systems have a minimum recommendation ACH of 4 for commercial and industrial buildings. Since respiratory droplets can hang in the air for a short time, commercial ventilation systems need to be “ramped up”. Engineers can increase the circulation of fresh outdoor air by reconfiguring ducted HVAC systems and by running the ventilations systems constantly with little to no powered down time.
Enhanced air cleaning technologies is a new warrior on the front lines of the coronavirusm battle. James Hansen, a Senior Principal and Lead Mechanical Engineer consultant with GHT Limited, speculates that bipolar ionization is a possible air cleaning technology that could help lessen the possibility of viral transmission. Bipolar ionization creates positively and negatively charged ions that are delivered to the conditioned area where they neutralize things like bacteria, viruses, and other irritants. There is still quite a bit of testing needed to measure efficacy but it is promising technology that will have a variety of configurations, including side-stream filtration, duct- mounting, and personal protection/point-of-use.
Other innovations are waiting in the wings to usher in the new normal of HVAC. Yagla Engineering Services is no stranger to designing cutting edge systems for commercial, industrial, and residential buildings. For the future of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, safety is paramount with comfort.