As temperatures plummet and we spend time indoors, members of Exeter Chamber of Commerce are being offered a free consultation to ensure the indoor air quality in their businesses is as Covid-19-secure as possible.
Transmission by aerosols – tiny droplets exhaled by an infected person which are so small they remain suspended in the air – are now considered to be a major cause of Coronavirus infection, along with direct transmission from person to person and contact with infected surfaces.
The official advice to all organisations is to ensure ‘plentiful’ ventilation.
But that’s too vague, according to air quality specialist John Wilton-Davies, who runs the Exeter-based company Plain Air: “Most people think of ventilation as simply opening windows or turning on the air conditioning, but how much is needed, and is this practical, especially in winter?”
He says that, while it is necessary to have a window open some of the time to remove carbon dioxide and humidity, many buildings do not have sufficient opening windows to provide a Covid-safe level of ventilation: “And that's before one considers the downsides – big increases in heating costs, noise and pollution from outside, bad weather, and someone closing the windows as soon as your back is turned.”
John Wilton-Davies says that, in addition to screens, hand sanitisers and other safety measures, businesses should also consider installing high-grade HEPA air purifiers alongside an individual ventilation policy.
“Many modern commercial premises have mechanical ventilation systems that push air around a building, normally mixing a little outside air on each circuit to remove carbon dioxide and excess humidity. This means most of the air blowing out of the vent into an office, café, studio, or factory is likely to just be the same air recirculated. And this will be especially dangerous if anyone in those rooms is infected with the virus.”
He says an appropriate air purifier will produce the same virus-reducing effect as open windows, but without any of the downsides: “If there’s virus floating around, the more you change that air for cleaner air, the more you reduce the risk. Viruses are, effectively, very small particles, which the best purifiers will trap. And, importantly, the clean air coming out does not need reheating. Suitable purifiers are compact, quiet and much more cost effective than even just a few months of big heating bills.”
Plain Air is offering all chamber members AND one nominated customer per member a free, on-site Covid assessment and recommendations.
For more information: John-Wilton-Davies 01392 952050.