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Developers, Contractors and Service Providers need to give importance to Indoor Air Quality

 

The need for clean indoor air is becoming even more urgent as the world looks for ways to survive through the global pandemic. Here are few handy tips, service providers should look into…

 

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August 24, 2020
 
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Developers, Contractors and Service Providers need to give importance to Indoor Air Quality
 

We spend more than 90 per cent of our time indoors – a proportion that can only be higher now that most of the world is working and learning from home. Improving standards of indoor air quality has always been a necessity, in fact, the ‘Sick Building Syndrome’ has been an issue for years. Buildings play a role in the spread of disease, which is evidenced throughout history with the SARS epidemic and measles to name a few.

However, the need for clean indoor air is becoming even more urgent as the world looks for ways to survive through the global pandemic caused by coronavirus. In the UAE, improving air quality has been on the government’s agenda for a long time.

The UAE National Vision 2021 aims to raise air quality in the country to 90 percent by 2021. To meet this goal, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is working with its partners in the public and private sectors to improve the national standards for air pollution and compliance control.

(Also Read: Tech Alert – Use of AIoT to maintain indoor air quality)

The quality of air inside the building can impact businesses, landlords, building managers, tenants, facilities staff, and employees, in a positive and negative way. Hence, Markus Lattner, Managing Director, Eurovent Middle East, says that it is crucial that service providers need to look into 3 crucial things while managing the indoor air quality.

1. Start the ventilation system ahead of opening: First of all, in case any building and with it the central ventilation system is closed down for a period of time, it is of great importance to start up the ventilation system ahead of the reopening of the building to occupants. “During shut down periods, large amounts of dust and other pathogens can settle in the ducts, coils, and the Air Handling Unit. Upon restarting, these micro particles are then spread around everywhere in the building and severely affect the air quality. Thus, systems should be restarted some days ahead the re-opening, and the building carefully cleaned and disinfected before people are allowed back,” says Lattner.

2. Regular inspection of the Air Handling Unit: In the Middle East, a large part of the extract air is recirculated for energy efficiency reasons. It is imperative in all times, but especially during a pandemic, that the re-circulated air is filtered before being distributed in the building again. “Service providers should check if the ventilation system is correctly installed, ensure that there is indeed a filtration stage in place for re-circulated air. If there is not, a warning to the owner should be given that the system is in need for a retrofit,” adds Lattner. In case that the filtration stage is correctly set up, then it needs to be ensured that the air filter in use fulfills the standard according to ISO16890 (previously EN779), and shows a filtration efficiency of ePM1 (60% or higher, we recommend ePM1 with 80% for all commercial buildings).

3. Use PPE: Lastly, in light of the current pandemic, service providers need to instruct their personnel to handle all used filtration material with greatest care. PPE, gloves, masks and glasses are imperative when replacing filters. And filters need to be disposed of in sealed bags.

 

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