Is It Time You Considered Better Office Ventilation?
August 2nd, 2021
Last updated: December 19th, 2023
With COVID-19 serving as a reminder of the need for us all to social distance and to keep our air quality high to prevent the spread of diseases within the workplace, businesses are mainly back to running their activities indoors. Offices, schools and the hospitality sector, in particular, faced huge challenges through COVID, but office ventilation is about far more than just the threat of COVID-19.
In the absence of clear Governmental guidance on how to manage the threat of COVID, businesses are having to make their own decisions on issues such as social distancing, face masks and hand hygiene, and until certain restriction milestones have passed, these issues may have prevented a business opening entirely. For instance, quality ventilation can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Now businesses are able to have people back into the workplace, but there is still uncertainty in how best to manage the spread of COVID-19 and to safeguard employees from other illnesses that could spread. Thankfully a study from ventilation specialists S&P UK offers some timely evidence on the best way to address this.
Study Finds that Mechanical Ventilation Halves COVID Infection Rates
An S&P study has found that mechanical ventilation systems, such as air conditioning, reduce the spread of airborne COVID-19 infections by 50%, compared to using natural ventilation, such as opening doors and windows. These are just one of the benefits of air conditioning in different business premises.
Whilst most people are now vaccinated, COVID-19 is still doing the rounds, and still poses a risk that businesses need to be aware of. It also serves as a useful test of spreading diseases and infection.
Of course it is easy to rely on natural ventilation for your office, and hope it does enough to remove harmful airborne infections, but air conditioning draws clean, fresh air from outside and replaces the stale, contaminated air inside, and on a continually replenishing basis. So the purified air that is created is a healthy working environment for all employees.
S&P carried out its study to see if mechanical ventilation improved air quality compared to natural ventilation in schools and offices. A four day study in each environment concluded that infection rates were halved in environments using mechanical ventilation compared to those relying only on natural ventilation.
Of course if you are opening windows and doors in an office, you are also exposing your employees to noise, emissions pollution and in winter, cold air too. In comparison, an air conditioning system works silently, improves the work environment by creating comfortable working conditions, which also aids productivity, and it is also an efficient and controllable system of ambient temperature regulation in terms of management.
Efficient and Effective Ventilation with Air Conditioning
The study provides clear evidence that mechanical ventilation is effectively twice as good as relying on natural ventilation, which is particularly important as the COVID infection remains airborne for longer and is therefore much more transmissible than other harmful airborne infections. COVID is a stark reminder that we are having to deal with new viruses all the time, and regardless of whether your team are at risk of infection from COVID-19, there are always potential issues with infections.
In an enclosed space, therefore, it is increasingly important to manage airflow, particularly with increasing numbers returning to the workplace, and in some cases, possibly reluctant or anxious to do so. In the absence of clear guidance on the issue, investment in an air conditioning system, or a planned and professional maintenance programme for your existing system, is the best way to control the spread of COVID-19, and other diseases, whilst also working towards a return to normal operating conditions.
This return to ‘normality’ is challenging enough for all concerned, so let an air conditioning system do a lot of the work for you. Speak to Robinsons Facilities Services about mechanical ventilation and the best type of system for your workplace. We can explain how COVID-19 infection can be effectively managed by air conditioning, as well as the many other environmental, cost and efficiency benefits of this kind of system, so contact our experts today and take the first step to reducing your COVID infection rates.
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