COVID-19 ventilation guide

European industry association Eurovent has released a guide on the operation of ventilation systems in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The document presents general and basic recommendations on the operation and maintenance of ventilation systems in accordance with instructions and applicable hygiene standards.

According to the Eurovent website, there is currently no evidence that the coronavirus can spread through ventilation or air conditioning systems, and no authorities have yet issued guidance for the operation of (mechanical) ventilation systems.

Providing information sourced from John Hopkins University, the organisation acknowledges the view that the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is spread through droplets released into the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.

“The droplets do not remain in suspension,” Eurovent says, “but generally fall to the ground or land on other surfaces at a short distance from the infected person.”

Eurovent agrees that the concentration of the smaller airborne droplets, which may contain viruses – including viruses other than SARS-CoV-2 – should be kept as low as possible, which it says can be effectively achieved by correctly operating mechanical ventilation systems.

It recommends the following precautionary measures:

  1. Increasing ventilation rates and the percentage of outdoor air in the system
  2. Extending the operation time of the ventilation system
  3. Checking that the ventilation units are properly set up and they are serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
  4. Maintaining the indoor relative humidity above 30 per cent (where possible).

Eurovent is Europe’s industry association for indoor climate, process cooling, and food cold chain technologies. Its Europe-based membership represents more than 1.000 companies, the majority of which are small and medium-sized manufacturers.

More information is available here.

One Reply to “COVID-19 ventilation guide

  1. We should use caution in applying Eurovent’s (citing REHVA’s) “recommended precautionary measures” because the economic and environmental costs of compliance are large, and the benefits to human health are likely to be nil, and possibly negative.

    REHVA acknowledges that, of the millions of cases reported worldwide, there has not been a single reported instance of Corona disease (COVID-19) being acquired via the airborne transmission of small particles (less than 5 microns) which this HVAC guidance / measure is supposed to counteract. Their advice is based on limited evidence of airborne transmission caused infections of SARS-CoV-1 in the past (i.e. SARS) and speculation that transmission of COVID-19 via AC might be possible.

    The many thousands of times more likely source of infection is direct from source via the pathways described by the WHO in their authoritative ‘Getting workplaces ready for COVID-19’ document. It follows, therefore, that if a building manager were to rigorously implement the REHVA / Eurovent guidance and be even slightly distracted from the task of implementing WHO guidance, the building occupants’ exposure risk would increase greatly.

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