Camfil introduces Chief Airgonomics Officer Initiative
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, 07 September 2022: Camfil introduced the Chief Airgonomics Officer initiative (CAO), which calls on organisations across the globe to take 100% accountability over the indoor air people breathe. Making the announcement through a Press release, Camfil said the brand-new initiative prompts organisations to act by appointing Chief Airgonomics Officers (CAOs), who will be The Voice of Clean Air at their workspace. Inspired by the study of ergonomics, the newly coined term, Airgonomics refers to the burgeoning discipline that seeks to maximise the benefits of healthy air for the protection of people, processes and the planet, Camfil said.
In light of the recent adoption by the UN General Assembly of a resolution declaring “access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment a universal human right” on July 28, 2022, the CAO initiative seeks to put into practice those actions that need to be taken to ensure that workplaces everywhere ensure access to clean, healthy and sustainable environments through the improvement of indoor air quality (IAQ).
On July 28, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring “access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment a universal human right”. In parallel, the 2021 publication of updated World Health Organization (WHO) Global Air Quality Guidelines concluded that “…the burden of disease attributable to air pollution is now estimated to be on a par with other major global health risks, such as unhealthy diet and tobacco smoking, and air pollution is now recognised as the single biggest environmental threat to human health”. The CAO initiative shares the vision of realising universal access to clean, healthy and sustainable environments and is taking its first steps to bring this to life by first tackling IAQ at workplaces, Camfil said. The initiative has a long-term vision of forging a global movement to ensure access to clean indoor air everywhere, Camfil added.
Nearly every facet of operating a company has a person in charge – from the HR director, who drives the talent strategy to the CEO, who provides the overall direction of business operations, Camfil said. Yet, despite the direct impact of air on people’s health, well-being and productivity, IAQ continues to be treated as an afterthought, Camfil said.
According to Camfil, a 2022 survey it carried out confirms this showing that six in 10 either do not know who is in charge of IAQ at their workplace, or their organisation does not have anyone accountable over this invisible issue. Camfil said it is leading the way, having appointed the world’s first global CAO to ensure all Camfil locations worldwide have clean indoor air.
Mark Simmons, CEO, Camfil, said: “With Chief Airgonomics Officers, we will create healthier and happier workplaces by ensuring accountability is taken by qualified individuals with the authority to make real change happen. That’s why I am thrilled that Camfil has its own CAO to ensure that clean indoor air gets the attention it deserves everywhere we operate and also to demonstrate leadership when it comes to creating healthy work environments.
“I strongly encourage every organisation to pay attention to the indoor air quality in their premises. By participating in the CAO initiative, your organisation can ensure that the quality of your indoor air is never overlooked again – for the health and wellbeing of your people.”
Camfil highlights the value of the World IEQ Forum 2022
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, 27 June 2022: One way to protect people from air pollution is to provide clean and healthy air inside of buildings, Camfil said through a Press release, dated June 27. This was the main conclusion at the 6th edition of the World IEQ Forum, held on March 16, in the Sweden Pavilion at the World Expo in Dubai, Camfil added.
The Expo may have concluded, but the topic of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) still remains a mainstream concern that is discussed globally, Camfil said, adding that there were two reasons for the 2022 World IEQ Forum having had an extra focus on IAQ:
- According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus between people is higher in poorly ventilated indoor settings.
- In September 2021, WHO published the first new version of their global Air Quality Guidelines since 2005.
“New scientific studies place the threshold of air pollution exposure considered harmful to human health 50% lower today compared to 17 years ago, when the previous WHO Air Quality Guidelines were published”, said Tobias Zimmer, Camfil’s Vice President of Global Product Management & International Standards. Tobias was a speaker and panellist at the World IEQ Forum.
Further, a recent WHO study states that 99% of the world’s population lives in areas with too much air pollution, Camfil pointed out. Air pollution that is causing serious human suffering in the form of diseases and millions of premature global deaths yearly and, on top of that, substantial economic costs, Camfil added.
“In the North African and Middle Eastern regions, air pollution is responsible for 270,000 deaths every year at a cost of 141 billion US Dollars, according to the World Bank”, Zimmer said. He went on to point out that most people today spend 90% of their time indoors and that the simplest and best way to achieve protection against harmful airborne particles is to invest in efficient air filtration solutions across all buildings.
“The need for quality air filtration is reflected via the much lower PM2.5 and PM10 threshold levels stated in WHO’s new Air Quality Guidelines,” Zimmer said. “These thresholds also align with Eurovent Guideline 4/23 for the selection of EN ISO 16890-rated air filter classes for general ventilation applications.”
At the same time, Zimmer was careful to emphasise that it is not possible to have a same-solution-fits-all approach to cleaning the indoor air. “Consensus at the World IEQ Forum was that every solution has to be tailored to where the building is located,” he said. “The outside air quality must determine the solution you have inside.” For example, he added, what works in a temperate zone might not be right in regions with high humidity. “The needs can also vary within a region,” he said. “Cities are more afflicted when it comes to air pollution than the countryside. Some cities are more polluted than others.”
According to Camfil, the World IEQ Forum is an opportunity for experts on IAQ, like Zimmer and his colleagues, to engage with, for example, representatives from the Ministry of Health and other influential representatives from various countries. “It is imperative that we continue to raise awareness around the urgent need to protect people from air pollution,” Zimmer said. “When you look at the human and financial costs on a global level, it is evident that we can’t afford not to protect ourselves.”
Zimmer said participants at the World IEQ Forum did not just talk about the importance of healthy IAQ. “We also demonstrated proof of concept by measuring the outside and inside air at the location during the EXPO,” Zimmer said. “Dubai’s outdoor air was 10 times more polluted than the WHO recommendations. The air inside the air-filtrated Sweden Pavilion was well below WHO limits for particle concentration.”
Zimmer said the effect of the clean indoor air in the Sweden Pavilion was visible to the naked eye. “After several hours of listening to me and other speakers, the audience was still fresh and alert,” he said. “So, you could say that we certainly ‘walked the talk’ when it comes to proving the benefits of clean, healthy and productive indoor air.”
Camfil Svenska receives Gold from EcoVadis
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, 22 June 2022: Camfil Svenska AB received a sustainability Gold Rating by EcoVadis, the company announced through a Press release. It can be difficult for companies to verify on their own and know for sure how sustainable they actually are. That is where EcoVadis plays a key role, Camfil Svenska said, adding that it decided to partner with EcoVadis to get a professional and independent appraisal of its sustainability level.
According to Camfil Svenska, EcoVadis’ methodology is built on international sustainability standards, including the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the United Nations Global Compact and ISO 26000. Companies all over the world rely on EcoVadis’ powerful technology platform for monitoring and improving their sustainability performance, Camfil Svenska said.
Camfil Svenska said that after a thorough assessment process, EcoVadis awarded it with a Gold Rating in the category, ‘Manufacturer of Special-Purpose Machinery Industry’.
“We are very pleased with the EcoVadis rating, especially since it confirms our commitment to sustainability and that we as a company are developing in the right direction,” said Åsa Lindström, Director Sustainability & Quality, Camfil Svenska.
To arrive at its sustainability ratings, EcoVadis applies a universal scorecard along with a number of performance improvement tools, Camfil Svenska said. “We performed well in the various categories,” Lindström said. “In the overall score, Camfil Svenska AB is in the top one per cent of companies rated by Ecovadis in the Manufacture of special-purpose machinery industry. In the Environment category, Camfil Svenska AB is among the top one per cent of companies rated by Ecovadis in the Manufacture of special-purpose machinery industry.”
According to Camfil Svenska, it is ranked in the top in other categories, as well:
- Among companies in the Manufacture of special-purpose machinery Industry, Camfil Svenska AB is in the top six per cent of companies for Labour and Human Rights category.
- Camfil Svenska AB is in the top six per cent of companies rated by Ecovadis in the Manufacture of special purpose machinery industry for Sustainable Procurement category and in the top four per cent of companies in the for the Ethics category.
Lindström said: “Working with EcoVadis helps us be more sustainable. Working with Ecovadis helps us and our stakeholders be more sustainable. We can share our score cards and improve together. We can share our score cards with stakeholders and improve together.”
Camfil launches virtual city
|STOCKHOLM, Sweden, 7 June 2022: Camfil highlighted how most people, in fact 99% of the world breathes air containing levels of pollutants that exceed WHO guideline limits, for what is considered to be healthy. The occasion was the launch of Camfil City, a virtual world with solutions for air quality challenges.
Camfil said the motivation for launching the City hinged on the need for clean air, considering that people spend 90% of their time indoors and that it is primarily indoors that they can protect themselves from air pollution.
According to Camfil, the City is a virtual world providing information and product solutions for air quality challenges. Camfil said it developed the 3D virtual world as a digital tool for its customers and potential new customers.
Martin Hellsten, Camfil City project lead, said, “Camfil City is an online 3D application inviting people to move around in a virtual urban setting and learn the basics about how Camfil’s air filter solutions can make air clean, safe and healthy.”
Camfil City lies on a hill, surrounded by a green landscape and the blue sea. It comprises several buildings. Customers can explore buildings in industries such as beverage production, data centres, hospitals and clinics, museums, offices, schools and universities, warehouse distribution facilities, restaurants, metalworking units and life sciences, Camfil said, adding that it intends to add more building types. “We know that users would like to have Camfil City load quickly and run smoothly, regardless of where you are in the world, so we designed the application to meet these demands,” Hellsten said.
According to Camfil, particular attention has been given to the user experience to ensure a fun, informative and useful application. On entering Camfil City, the visitor can have a look inside a specific industry environment and, subsequently, can click, drag and spin the city around to reach a range of industry buildings, Camfil said. With another pinch zoom on a mobile device or scroll on a desktop, the visitor can click a hotspot and access the inside of the building and explore air concerns and possible solutions, the company added.
Lori Heck, 3D Artist and Design Manager, Camfil USA, said: “I aimed to create all the 3D artwork for Camfil City at a high-quality, visually appealing level, yet be able to ensure fast load times and a great user experience for Camfil’s current and potential customers. The site is both, fun and educational.”
The hotspots show where the visitor can interact with the city to get more information, Camfil said. In the city overview, the hotspots are placed on buildings that represent industries. By clicking a building hotspot, the visitor travels into that building. In a building, the visitor would get another set of hotspots, situated in the different rooms, representing the application in the industry, Camfil said. By clicking the hotspots, the visitor can read about the different concerns that they might have in the application and what solutions Camfil offers to solve them, the company added.
Hellsten said: “Not all people who purchase our products are experts in air filtration, and they shouldn’t have to be, either. The purpose of Camfil City is to give everyone a chance to learn the basics of what our clean air solutions can do for them. We believe that this is not just for future Camfil customers. We also see this application as a valuable tool for our existing customers to discover what Camfil has to offer in a new and highly accessible way.”
Camfil donates air purifiers to Pertini
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, 15th June 2021: Camfil Italy in Cinisello Balsamo donated air purifiers to the municipality for the Il Pertini Cultural Center, Camfil said through a Press release, adding that it was a gesture of generosity and attention to the city, in which it has been operating for the last 46 years. The air purifiers, the company said, have been placed in the study room in one of the buildings, which has become an important step as many young students and professionals spend hours studying there.
Following an inspection, Camfil proposed the installation of three air purifiers in the study room. The clean air solutions, capable of purifying the air from pollen, bacteria, viruses, particulate matter, ozone, chemicals and other harmful contaminants, are also the same adopted by the French and Spanish regional authorities in the canteens, laboratories, and study rooms of their schools, Camfil said. Silent and with very low energy consumption, the City M air purification systems will guarantee about 16 changes per day of purified air, thanks to HEPA H14 filters, with a certified filtration efficiency of 99.995% even on the smallest particles in the air, it added.
Luciano Rogato, Managing Director, Camfil Italy, said: “We are humbled to have donated three air purifiers to the reading room of the Pertini Cultural Center, which plays a central role in promoting culture, socialization, and creativity in the Cinisello Balsamo community. It is an important contribution, as the local communities and public places have remained under strict restrictions due to the pandemic. Our clean air solutions ensure a healthy and safe indoor environment.”
Mayor Giacomo Ghilardi, said: “I thank Camfil for this donation to our city library, which is a hub for so many young people for studying, reading, and as a meeting place. Due to the health emergency, which is still ongoing, the Pertini was closed for some time, and we know how much discomfort this has created for many students and young professionals. The installation of these machines will allow more comfortable and healthy use of the indoor environments.”
Eurovent, Eurovent Middle East and Eurovent Certita Certification to host webinar on global air filtration standard
BRUSSELS, DUBAI, PARIS, 19 May 2021: Eurovent, in cooperation with Eurovent Middle East and Eurovent Certita Certification, will host a webinar on June 9 with the aim of outlining the importance of adherence to the latest standards in air conditioning and ventilation. Making the announcement through a Press release, Eurovent said special focus will be placed on the application of the newest air filtration standard, ISO 16890, which has replaced EN 779 and other international standards in recent years. The virtual event, it added, is tailor-made for Africa, Middle East, India and Southeast Asia.
According to Eurovent, it will address the following topics:
- ISO 16890: The global air filtration standard
- Eurovent 4/23: Guidance for the selection of ISO 16890-rated air filter classes for general ventilation applications
- Energy efficiency and filter certification
According to Eurovent, presentations will lead to a panel discussion and a dedicated Q&A session.
Marc Schmidt, Chairman, Eurovent Product Group – ‘Air Filters’ (PG-FIL), and one of the key speakers of the webinar, by way of underlining the importance of the transition to ISO 16890, said: “This standard has been developed to increase the awareness on Indoor Air Quality related to particulate matter suspended in the air and supports the World Health Organization’s fight in reducing illnesses related to smallest particle sizes. It is essential for the HVAC engineering community around the world to be aware of this standard and to understand its application.”
Eurovent said registration to the event is free of charge. It urged those interested in attending to register at via this link.
Camfil launches CamCarb VG engineered molecular filtration solution
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, 12 May 2021: Camfil launched the CamCarb VG engineered molecular filtration solution, which the company described as a robust solution suited for make-up air and recirculation air systems. The primary use of the technology, Camfil said, is the control of acidic gases that are responsible for the corrosion of electronics and electrical equipment in heavy process industries, such as pulp and paper mills; petrochemical refineries; mining and metal refining operations; and wastewater treatment plants. They are also suitable for lighter applications, such as the removal of noxious and odorous fumes generated outside airports, hospital helipads, cultural heritage buildings, and commercial offices located in city centres, Camfil added. The modules can be filled with different types of Camfil molecular filtration media to suit the specific customer application, the company said. There are two standard configurations of CamCarb VG: VG300 and VG440, it said, adding that the VG300 format is best suited for moderate duty (normally make-up air) applications, and the VG440 is best suited for light-duty (recirculation air) applications.
According to Camfil, CamCarb VG filters can be installed in specially designed housings, with options for front-loading, side-loading, or positive-seal side access (PSSA). They can also be used as replacements in housings and track systems produced by other manufacturers, the company said.
The modules are fully welded and constructed without adhesive to eliminate the possibility of off-gassing, Camfil said. They include a unique moulded mesh to allow the use of a full range of loose-fill media without shedding, it said. Many applications will require multiple molecular media to address a range of contaminants. The different media should be deployed in a series of layered modules. This layered approach will provide the highest removal efficiency, the longest life, and the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO), as each media can be changed when it reaches the end of its useful life, it said, adding that a blended-media, on the other hand, requires all the media to be replaced when just a single component has failed.
ASHRAE publishes updated health care facility ventilation standard
ATLANTA, Georgia, 11 May 2021: ASHRAE has released an updated edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities. Making the announcement through a Press release, ASHRAE said the standard offers guidance, regulation and mandates to designers of health care facilities.
The 2021 edition, ASHRAE said, delivers critical guidance for designers and operators of these front-line facilities and incorporates 17 addenda to the 2017 edition of the standard.
According to ASHRAE, changes include:
- Expanded requirements to allow airborne infectious isolation room exhaust discharge to general exhaust under certain conditions
- Revised scope, with improved guidance on thermal comfort conditions
- Extensive modifications to address the Outpatient and Residential sections
- Extensive revisions to air filtration requirements
- Addition of new columns in the ventilation tables to prescribe filtration requirement and designate unoccupied turndown
- Expanded guidance on separation distance requirements for varied intake and exhaust arrangements, coordinating with related ASHRAE Standard 62.1 data
- Improved guidance related to behavioral and mental health
ASHRAE supports USGBC IAQ schools survey and report
ATLANTA, Georgia, 29 April 2021: With technical support from ASHRAE, the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) published a new report on indoor air quality (IAQ) measures that schools have taken in response to the pandemic, ASHRAE said through a Press release.
The report, titled “Preparation in the Pandemic: How Schools Implemented Air Quality Measures to Protect Occupants from COVID-19”, presents the survey responses of school districts representing more than 4,000 schools serving over 2.5 million students in 24 states, on the protocols and operations plans implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“Maintaining proper ventilation and good indoor air quality are vital in keeping school buildings healthy and operating as energy efficiently as possible,” said 2020-21 ASHRAE President Charles E. Gulledge III. “This report provides a wide-scale, foundational framework to school leaders and lawmakers alike towards the implementation of new building design guidelines and to advance health and sustainability goals, while instilling confidence in the places where people learn.”
According to ASHRAE, the report is the only known national view of air quality measures implemented in schools during the pandemic. It highlights what school districts have prioritized, which actions they have taken, how they have made decisions and what the consequences have been. The results of the survey show that schools have implemented some protective measures to improve IAQ, prioritizing ventilation and filtration to reduce the transmission of the virus, ASHRAE said. However, school districts still have unmet needs and face numerous challenges related to costs and outdated building infrastructure, ASHRAE added.
“Indoor air quality continues to be a critical concern as more teachers and students are returning to the classroom,” said Anisa Heming, Director of the Center for Green Schools, USGBC. “Increasing clean air circulation for our teachers and students is vital to promoting public health and is a key green building strategy for school buildings. Our aim with this report is to inform policymakers and nonprofits that support our schools of the challenges that our education institutions face in combatting the spread of COVID-19, particularly given the deficient state of many school buildings across the country.”
Additional findings from the survey include:
- The most-frequently-cited challenge to implementing protective air quality measures at schools was that school buildings were not designed to support the strategies that were being recommended.
- School districts that have been able to act have leaned heavily on their mechanical systems, such as increasing air supply through HVAC systems or upgrading filters to implement protective air quality measures for students and teachers.
- Only two-thirds of respondents were regularly monitoring IAQ before the pandemic, indicating that providing time, staff and funding for regular monitoring and data collection has not been a priority for many districts in the past.
- Respondents want to continue the measures implemented during the pandemic, citing student and teacher health. Seventy per cent of school districts plan to continue some or all of the strategies they have implemented.
“As schools re-open and develop health and safety plans to mitigate airborne transmission of COVID-19, many are prioritizing and upgrading current HVAC systems to provide the highest indoor air quality for building occupants,” said Corey Metzger, Lead, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Schools Team. “We know that improved indoor air quality has a positive impact on student performance and general well-being, and I’m hopeful that more schools will consider and implement the guidance provided by ASHRAE.”
Camfil expands production in Taiwan
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, 29 March 2021: Camfil has commenced operation at its new plant in Tainan, Taiwan, which it said will contribute in a circular systematic way to benefit the business and the environment. Making the announcement through a Press release, Camfil said the new facility, with over 4,000 square metres in area, has started production and will create new employment opportunities and contribute directly towards Camfil’s mission for a sustainable future.
According to Camfil, the factory will act as a hub for molecular and particle filtration, focusing on supporting the growing semiconductor, life science and turbomachinery industry; and by producing locally, it will help reduce shipping time from other facilities located in Asia. The plant is well equipped with the latest technology and operational capability to adapt the green process to elaborate the Camfil sustainability promises to the customers and the environment, the company said. By using its technology, it said, it expects to reduce shipping costs, promote local manufacturing and reduce waste handling. It added that its manufacturing process will have a reduced environmental impact, as the facility will contribute to reducing waste generation for customers by adopting a reuse/recycle approach for many filter components.
During the opening ceremony, Bengt G Carlsson, representative of The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, was present and took the stage to highlight the benefits of this sustainable initiative and how it will shape the future of the air filtration market and leading towards reduced waste generation.
James Lin, Managing Director, Camfil Taiwan, said: “Camfil is thrilled to announce the start of our air filtration facility that will directly contribute to our commitment to sustainability and promote reduced waste generation through recycling and reusing. We believe that this kind of initiative in manufacturing and operations can be important drivers in the sustainable development of our process and the environment.”
ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force releases updated Building Readiness Guide
ATLANTA, Georgia, 02 February 2021: With the performance of many HVAC systems in buildings still being evaluated, the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has updated its reopening guidance for HVAC systems to help mitigate the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, ASHRAE said through a Press release.
“The Building Readiness Guide includes additional information and clarifications to assist designers and commissioning providers in performing pre- or post-occupancy flush calculations to reduce the time and energy to clear spaces of contaminants between occupancy periods,” said Wade Conlan, Lead, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Building Readiness team. “New information includes the theory behind the use of equivalent outdoor air supply, method for calculating the performance of filters and air cleaners in series, and filter droplet nuclei efficiency that help evaluate the systems’ ability to flush the building.”
According to ASHRAE, major updates to the building readiness guidance include the following:
- Pre- or post-flushing strategy methodology: The strategy has been updated to include the use of filter droplet nuclei efficiency, which is the overall efficiency of filter, based on viable virus particle sizes in the air, to assist in determining the impact of the filter on the recirculated air on the equivalent outdoor air. This allows the filter efficiency as a function of particle size, using ASHRAE Standard 52.2 test results, to be estimated based on the expected size distribution of virus-containing particles in the air. This calculation is currently based on Influenza A data and will be updated as peer-reviewed research becomes available for the distribution of particle sizes that contain a viable SARS-CoV-2 virus. Additionally, a chart has been added to help determine the time to achieve 90%, 95% or 99% contaminant reduction, if the equivalent outdoor air changes per hour is known.
- Flushing time calculator: There is now a link to a view-only Google Sheet that can be downloaded for use, to help determine the available equivalent outdoor air changes and time to perform the flush. This sheet is based on a typical mixed AHU with filters, cooling coil, with potential for in-AHU air cleaner (UVC is noted in the example), and in-room air cleaning devices. Provided efficiencies of MERV-rated filters are based on the performance of over 200 actual filters from MERV 4 through 16, but the tool also allows users to enter custom characteristics for specific filters.
- The sheet also calculates the filter droplet nuclei efficiency, based on the cited research but allows a user to adjust the anticipated distribution of virus, as desired. It also allows specification of the zone (room) air distribution effectiveness from ASHRAE Standard 62.1 to account for the impact of the HVAC system air delivery method on the degree of mixing. Default calculations assume perfect mixing. Finally, the tool allows for the target air changes to be adjusted if an owner wants to achieve a different per cent removal in lieu of the recommended 95%.
- Heating season guidance: The guide now includes data to consider for heating of outdoor air and the potential impact on pre-heat coils in systems.
- Adjustments to align with Core Recommendations: The Core Recommendations were released in January 2021, and this guidance document needed to be updated to ensure that the information provided aligned with the intent of those recommendations. This included minimum outdoor air supply and filter efficiency requirements and their role in an equivalent outdoor air supply-based risk mitigation strategy.
According to ASHRAE, the guidance still addresses the tactical commissioning and systems analysis needed to develop a Building Readiness Plan, increased filtration, air cleaning strategies, domestic and plumbing water systems, and overall improvements to a system’s ability to mitigate virus transmission.
Building for the “new normal”
As the world continues to grapple with an ever-shifting economic landscape, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, stakeholders in the building sector across the GCC region have observed how the pandemic has triggered an evaluation and reassessment of priorities. Ashok Jha, Head FM and Retrofit Projects, Universal Voltas, points out that the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19 has prompted many organisations to take actions they have been putting off for some time, including launching new digital services and evolving their business models, enabling greater flexibility in their working and implementing cost optimisation measures.
However, Jha says, perhaps the most notable trend would be the move towards a greater number of retrofit projects in the region. “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the oil prices plummeted to one of the lowest levels and government revenues went down in the GCC region,” he says. “This has led to reduced spending across all sectors, including new construction, with the current market seeing greater push towards shallow retrofitting, deep retrofitting, energy conservation and reducing the building carbon footprint in the existing buildings to make them more sustainable.” Jha says that since the number of existing buildings in Oman, Kuwait and the UAE is very high compared to new buildings, there was also a need to address the physical deterioration of the buildings, due to functional and economic obsolescence, and to make them more sustainable. “Because of this, there is a surge in demand for the retrofitting of the existing buildings across the GCC region,” he says (see sidebar).
Andrea Di Gregorio, Executive Director, Reem, Ras Al Khaimah Municipality, also believes the region is poised to see a strong pipeline of retrofit projects. “More focus is being put in refurbishing existing buildings, to bring them up-to-speed with the latest best practices in sustainability,” he says. “We see an increase in interest from building owners in retrofit activities, and we expect this interest to further increase throughout 2021 and in the coming years.”
Energy efficiency and sustainability
Another major driver for retrofits is the move towards energy efficient and sustainable practices, which has long been heralded by experts in the sector. Jha points out that because of the detrimental impact of buildings on the environment, with occupied buildings and the construction sector accounting for 36% of the global energy consumption and nearly 40% of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions according to International Energy Agency (IEA), the UAE has begun to actively transition into smart and sustainable cities, which has turned the focus on the energy efficiency of the buildings, specifically existing ones.
In addition to its impact on overall sustainability efforts, much of the move can be attributed to growing awareness on return of investment in terms of reduced operational cost. As Jha points out, retrofitting primarily refers to the measures being taken to replace legacy energy and utility systems with new and energy-efficient technologies. “These technologies not only reduce energy consumption and decrease carbon emissions but also lower maintenance costs, improve safety, enhance productivity, boost property valuations and also prolong the useful life of the assets and the building as a whole,” he says. “In a nutshell, we can say that OPEX of the building reduces and the asset value increases. Hence, it is becoming important day by day to retrofit buildings to not only make them more sustainable for the future but also to derive economical value by reducing the operational cost and, in turn, optimise the rentals and make them more lucrative for the tenants.”
Weighing in, Di Gregorio says that sustainable buildings often result in lower life cycle cost of the building itself. “If sustainability features are carefully selected, operational savings – in terms of energy and water usage and equipment maintenance – typically exceed any incremental investments that those features require,” he says. “For this reason, in a perfect market, where developers are able to fairly monetise their investments in higher quality buildings, we would expect for tenants any rent premiums for more sustainable buildings to be exceeded by the value of operational savings.”
Jha adds that as energy prices continue to rise, the relative benefits of energy efficiency will become increasingly important, and this is leading to a huge surge in demand for equipment, such as Smart LED lights and motion sensors, air curtains and FAHUs, energy-efficient AHUs, FCUs or split units and VAV systems. This has also led to greater demand for water usage reduction through the use of low-flow fixtures, sensors, waterless urinals and low-flush WCs, and also for photovoltaic panels on rooftops to generate electricity from the solar power, among other solutions.
A renewed focus on IAQ
While the return on investment (ROI) from retrofitting for energy efficiency is becoming clear, stakeholders are hopeful that the new wave of retrofits would also accommodate enhancements of indoor air quality (IAQ), which has been typically overlooked over the past years. Di Gregorio says that he believes this would be the case. “There is increasing interest in IAQ, partly driven by COVID-19 concerns,” he says. “Some awareness and technical barriers are there; nonetheless we foresee development in this area in the future.”
Jha shares a similar opinion. He says: “Fear of pandemic is looming large in the minds of the people, and therefore, while carrying out the retrofitting of their buildings, owners are ensuring that retrofit projects also take into consideration IAQ of the buildings, where people are currently spending more than 90% of their time and also to reduce the chances of contamination through virus, bacteria, moulds and fungi.”
Di Gregorio says there is a lot of focus on safety and security from building owners, particularly in what concerns disinfection of common areas. “This sometimes adds to other measures, like filtration, turning into improved air quality,” he says. Jha adds that some of the measures that building owners are taking include Demand Control Ventilation through C02 sensors, fitting volume control dampers, ultraviolet lamps in AHUs, ultraviolet germicide irradiation and MERV 13/14 filters. He further adds that there has been an increase in the use of humidifiers and dehumidifiers to maintain humidity in the range of 40-60%, where the microbial and fungal growth is minimal.
Jha also says that the majority of the offices are allowing their staff to work from home and that people are spending more than 90% of their time indoors. “This further necessitates that apt measures are taken by the occupants to ensure proper lux levels, ergonomics and IAQ, as these will have a profound impact on their health and wellbeing and, in turn, impact their productivity,” he says. “Hence, there cannot be a better time than now to address the Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) issues, if any.” Jha says these are the factors driving a lot of investment being done by the property owners in the built-environment to retrofit their buildings to ensure proper IAQ against the traditional retrofit, where emphasis was mainly towards energy efficiency.
Making a case for retrofits
Keeping in mind the tangible and intangible benefits of retrofitting, Di Gregorio believes there is more than enough evidence to drive building owners to invest in such initiatives. “If building owners are not thinking about retrofits, they definitely should!” he says. “Retrofit projects tend to have very favourable returns. We are observing that for comprehensive retrofits of commercial buildings in Ras Al Khaimah, the payback time is 3-5 years. And the contracting standards that are being adopted often provide forms of guarantees for the investor on those returns.”
Jha, agreeing, says that in spite of the change in the occupancy profile of buildings, property owners must continue to retrofit within the built-environment. “Retrofitting of existing buildings offers tremendous opportunities for improving asset performance in terms of utilities,” he says. “Retrofitting also offers a potential upside in the overall performance of the building through improved energy efficiency, increased staff productivity, reduced maintenance costs, and better thermal comfort.” Jha believes that such key drivers should serve as a motivation and incentive for building owners, who are on the fence about investing in retrofit projects.
Retrofitting in Kuwait, Oman and the UAE
COVID-19 has had a significant adverse impact on organisations, people’s health, their livelihoods and the economy at large in the GCC region countries, says Ashok Jha, Head, FM & Retrofit Projects, Universal Voltas LLC. However, Jha is quick to point out that while the duration and severity of COVID-19’s impact on economies and sectors will undoubtedly vary, companies and governments in the GCC region have done well to set in motion a “look ahead, anticipate, innovate and adjust” roadmap, which has led the construction sector to focus on energy optimisation and retrofitting in existing buildings, which is a key to sustainable construction.
Citing figures from Global Data, a leading data and analytics company, Jha says that Oman’s construction industry contracted sharply in 2020, plummeting by nearly around -10.3%. “The industry is struggling with challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak, low oil prices, and the impact of sovereign credit rating downgrades,” he says. Further compounding the downside risks to the outlook for the industry, the Omani Government has had to rationalise spending.”
Jha adds that given the limited prospects for the government to boost investment in infrastructure and other investment projects, a recovery in the construction sector is expected to be very slow. “Global Data currently expects the construction industry to fall further in 2021, with output contracting by -5.8%,” he says. “The fiscal plan by the Oman Government is intended to reduce public debt, increase the state’s reserves, and diversify revenue away from the oil sector.”
Owing to these factors, Jha believes that new construction spend will be very minimal, and more impetus will be on the retrofitting, deep retrofitting, fit-outs and energy performance optimisation in the built-environment in Oman.
Kuwait has faced similar challenges, Jha says, adding that the construction market shrunk in the year 2020 at about -9.5% approximately, as per Global Data. “The construction industry is struggling with the challenges presented by the outbreak of COVID-19, low oil prices and the impact of sovereign credit rating downgrades,” he says. “Because of this, focus is more towards existing buildings in Kuwait.”
Jha adds that within the built-environment in Kuwait, residential buildings constitute around 81%, commercial buildings are 11%, whereas government buildings constitute four per cent; the remaining four per cent includes commercial, industrial, agricultural and services. “Also, Kuwait has one of the highest per capita electricity consumption and carbon footprint globally, which further necessitates the retrofitting of the buildings to make them more sustainable,” he says. “All the above factors, along with the economic strain, is forcing Kuwait to focus on energy conservation, deep retrofitting, retrofitting and fit-outs in the built-environment with a very minimal spending on new construction.”
Sharing observations on the UAE market, in particular, Jha says that the COVID-19 outbreak, coupled with low oil prices, has led the construction output in the UAE to contract by nearly 4.8% in 2020, but that a rebound is expected in 2021, as per Global Data. “New project opportunities are expected to be minimal in the coming quarters, as the government is consolidating its widening fiscal debt and COVID-19-related force majeure,” he said. “Over the medium- to longer-term, government investment will remain focused on upgrading physical infrastructure and reforming the financing and regulatory environment.”
Jha adds that the UAE has set high targets for building retrofit, which are reflected in the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy. “The latter targets an overall 30% reduction in energy and water use by 2030,” he says. “To support this, Etihad ESCO aims to retrofit 30,000 buildings in the next 10 years and generate 1.68TWh energy savings and around 5.64 BIG of water savings by year 2030.”
ASHRAE releases core recommendations for reducing airborne infectious aerosol exposure
ATLANTA, Georgia, 14 January 2021: The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has released new guidance to address control of airborne infectious aerosol exposure and recommendations for communities of faith buildings, ASHRAE said through a Press release.
An infectious aerosol is a suspension in air of fine particles or droplets containing pathogens, such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which can cause infections when inhaled, ASHRAE said. They can be produced by breathing, talking, sneezing and other as well as by flushing toilets and by certain medical and dental procedures, it added.
ASHRAE’s Core Recommendations for Reducing Airborne Infectious Aerosol Exposure concisely summarize the main points found in the detailed guidance documents produced by the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force, it said. They are based on the concept that ventilation, filtration and air cleaners can be combined flexibly to achieve exposure reduction goals, subject to constraints that may include comfort, energy use and costs, it added.
“This guidance outlines a clear approach for lessening the risk of infectious aerosol exposure for building occupants that can be applied in a wide range of applications, from homes to offices, to mobile environments, such as vehicles and ships,” said William Bahnfleth, Chair, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force. “ASHRAE’s Core Recommendations are based on an equivalent clean air supply approach that allows the effects of filters, air cleaners, and other removal mechanisms to be added together to achieve an exposure reduction target.”
According to ASHRAE, specific recommendations include the following:
- Public health guidance
- Follow all regulatory and statutory requirements and recommendations.
- Ventilation, filtration, air cleaning
- Outdoor airflow rates guidance for ventilation, as specified by applicable codes and standards.
- Recommendations on filters and air cleaners that achieve MERV 13 or better levels of performance.
- The use of air cleaners.
- Control options that provide desired exposure reduction while minimizing associated energy penalties.
- Air distribution.
- Promote the mixing of space air.
- HVAC system operation
- Maintain temperature and humidity design set points.
- Maintain equivalent clean air supply required for design occupancy.
- Operate systems for a time required to achieve three air changes of equivalent clean air supply.
- Limit re-entry of contaminated air.
- System commissioning
- Verify that HVAC systems are functioning as designed.
According to ASHRAE, the task force’s Communities of Faith Buildings guidance offers recommendations on conducting worship services under epidemic conditions.
Rick Karg, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force member, said: “The intent of the Communities of Faith guidance is to offer those who operate and care for buildings used for worship a plan for implementing short- and long-term HVAC strategies to reduce the possibilities of transmission of the SARS-CoV2-2 virus. The document also helps communities move toward a new ‘normal’ operation after this public health emergency nears an end.”
According to ASHRAE, recommendations for Communities of Faith include the following:
- Identify HVAC system characteristics. Compile and review operation and maintenance manuals and schedules.
- Verify HVAC systems are well maintained and operating as intended. For maintenance, follow the requirements of ASHRAE Standard 180 – 2018, Standard Practice for the Inspection and Maintenance of Commercial HVAC Systems.
- Consider PPE when maintaining HVAC systems, including filters, coils and drain pans.
- Operate HVAC systems, if present, with system fan set to run continuously when building is occupied for services or cleaning.
- Operate the system for a time required to achieve three equivalent air changes of outdoor air (effect of outdoor air, filtration and air cleaners) before the first daily occupancy and between occupied periods, if appropriate. Three equivalent air changes can be calculated using ASHRAE’s Building Readiness Guide.
To view the complete ASHRAE Core Recommendations For Reducing Airborne Infectious Aerosol Exposure and Communities of Faith Building guidance, ASHRAE suggested visiting ashrae.org/COVID-19.
Climate change and the larger picture of finances
Q&A: James Brainard, Mayor of Carmel, Indiana, United States
We have succeeded admirably in our fight against the depletion of the ozone layer through collective effort, through a cohesive, consensus-based approach of finding economically and technically sound alternatives to ozone-depleting refrigerants. How much confidence do you take from what has been a marvellous example of social cooperation?
We did the summit in the form of the Montreal Protocol over concerns of huge spike in cancer deaths, so it was a great example of world leaders coming together to study a problem, devise a solution and then go back to their countries to fix the problem. It shows diplomacy and recognition of common challenges can be good.
In the same way, could we not find a financially feasible, well-structured long-term plan to curb the widespread misuse of energy and general profligacy through steady and substantial investment in the infrastructure needed to achieve the goal?
You have identified the problem in the question, and we have to find the means of accomplishing this. We have to look at the larger picture of finances – the health impact of pollution; the cost of famines; the cost of relocation, if we have a rise in sea level, leading to the displacement of people from major cities; and the cost of possible conflicts arising out of this. But more specifically, we need to recognize many jobs are dependent on the fossil fuel industry. So, we can make those changes, but we have to recognize that we need to look out for investment of industry, we still need to fly airplanes. But, we have a saying in the US, ‘low- hanging fruit’. So, there are many easy things we can do to clean the environment and reduce fossil fuel use, and those are what we can focus on with recognising that we have to protect people’s jobs in the fossil fuel industry and that many are invested in the fossil fuel industry.
Would an approach of self-financing the fight against global warming by developing an energy budget in every city, town, state and country across the world be a possible way out, as propounded by George Berbari, the CEO of DC Pro Engineering? I am referring to a structured, long-term carrot-and-stick approach, where individuals and organisations occupying residential and commercial buildings could be rewarded for being energy efficient and penalised for being inefficient, with the penalty being slightly higher than the reward to create a positive budget, a surplus, which could be used for giving rebates to homeowners for improving insulation, glazing, etc., for developing infrastructure to lower primary energy use, for building thermal energy networks, even District Energy schemes… anything that would effectively fight climate change.
I think it would help. The colloquial shotgun approach, where we undertake to do a lot of small things. I think your idea of financial incentives and disincentives is good; and tied to that what needs to happen is disincentives need to increase over time and incentives need to go up and come down. It is certainly a system we need today. You could still pass laws, where each year, the incentives and disincentives change, to encourage disincentives to go up and incentives to go away. The tax system is also there. Or, it could be a separate tax, a carbon tax, and it has been discussed here since the late 1980s.
Economists believe such an approach to conserving primary energy is feasible, but democratically elected local and federal government leaders and local mayors have limited terms and, generally speaking, give priority to short-term problems, the solving of which gives them immediate political benefits, as opposed to decades-long and daunting task of curbing energy use through a financial mechanism and other initiatives, which might also be viewed by the city’s inhabitants that make the electorate, as adding to existing costs and impairing their personal and corporate competitiveness. In your case, you are one of the longest-serving mayors in the state, having been in office since 1996 over seven consecutive terms. Did that give you a canvas to paint a long-term vision? How effective was the approach? Did it help you shape regulation and enforcement at a city level? Were you able to raise greater awareness on the human impact on climate change and bring about a consensus-based change in energy use behaviour in Carmel?
We are a suburb of Indianapolis, which has a population of two million people. We are 100,000 people in Carmel. Now, places like Dubai and Doha require automobiles, owing to the urban sprawl. Generally, we need the automobile to go anywhere. We have looked at the problem and have a series of PPPs, where one can live, work, go to restaurant and engage in recreational activities without having to get into an automobile and, as a result, lower the consumption of fuel.
The average American spends two hours a day in automobiles, but in Carmel, businesses, houses, schools are all here. We have adopted land use development differently, so people can live, work and go to a restaurant all in the same area, and we tried to design our downtown not for automobiles, and it has cut down fuel use. In Carmel, it is 15 minutes to half an hour of automobile use per person, so it is much, much less [than the national average].
We have a legal structure in the state of Indiana that makes decisions on building codes, and they have done less than what I would like to see, but we have contract to have a much more efficient build. We have the example of the Energy Center in Carmel. We have cold winters and hot summers in Carmel, and we are using energy all year long to either heat or cool our buildings. And if you have an individual heating or cooling system, it starts and stops and is energy inefficient. And so, we have developed the Energy Center in the city, and it uses 50% less energy. And we would like to see this being applied across the city.
If energy is scarce and its excessive use damaging to the environment, should people be allowed to consume as much as they want to, as long as they are paying for it? Should affordability be a sole factor? Could we change that mindset and, at the same time, take care not to infringe on personal freedom and quality of life?
I have thought about it, and I believe in a capitalistic and free market approach. And there is a way to fix it, which is you pay USD 10, say, for 100 units of use, USD 15 for the next 100 units, and USD 20 for the next 100 units. And so the more you use, the higher the price. And it is a good system, because it penalizes the people to use it, and at the same time, they have the freedom to use it. In the case of steel production, maybe that may be very important for the economy and jobs, and so there should be a different model. You have to look at the situation where we can improve the environment, decrease carbon and increase quality of life.
Have you established a carbon neutrality goal for Carmel, like Copenhagen, for instance, where we are seeing a consensus-based approach involving all political parties, underpinned by the thought process that environmental action needs to be bipartisan in nature? Or are the political dynamics different in the United States?
It’s a good question. Our city is mainly Republican, and is fiscally and economically conservative. Some years ago, a seven-member council introduced a carbon neutrality goal, which is not mandated, however. We know we will get there, because the technology is there. It is not time bound. It is a legislative body that passed a law that laid out a carbon neutrality goal.
We have been measuring progress in reducing carbon. Every year, we are measuring how much energy the city is using on a per capita basis, because the city is growing. I don’t know if we have done enough yet, but we are making progress. I firmly believe technology will save us.
The fight against climate change needs to be a non-partisan effort within cities, states and nations. What we have seen is a vastly polarising view within the United States. With Joe Biden set to take the reins, how soon can we expect to see the United States aligning itself in a more profound manner to the Paris Agreement?
I am a Republican, and my undergraduate degree was in history, so I tend to think not today but historically. At the turn of the century, Ted Roosevelt, a Republican, set aside millions of acres in the US for the National Parks system. And President Eisenhower in 1952 established the Arctic Reserve in Alaska, and he was Republican, as well. And President Nixon was the one who set up the federal EPA. Republicans signed a law that amended our Clean Water Act. They passed a whole series of environmental laws. President Reagan led on the Montreal Protocol for the ozone protection initiative. George HW Bush and George Bush came from a state that produces a lot of oil, and yet they established a system of hundreds of windmills. Over 120 years, Republicans and Democrats have come together in a non-partisan manner. And they will come back; this anomaly has been only for a sort period of time. Clean air and water are non-partisan issues. Disagreement will come only in terms of jobs.
On December 11, 2020, the United States observed a new daily death record of 3,055 individuals, more than the number of people who died in Pearl Harbour or the September 11 attacks on the twin towers in New York City. The coronavirus cases have risen sharply in Carmel, as they have elsewhere in Indiana and across the country. What measures have you taken in Carmel to safeguard residents through better indoor air quality (IAQ), with science advocating more fresh air changes and maintaining Relative Humidity between 40% and 60% in buildings?
I think one good thing that has come from the pandemic is recognition of IAQ being important, and there are great many entrepreneurs in the US selling systems that clean the air. Our City Hall operates a new system that every few minutes recycles the air and filters and cleans the air in the building; and it is energy efficient. And building owners throughout the US are adopting this. I see this as a positive thing that has emerged.
I have put a taskforce in Carmel. We also have generated messages through emails and print newsletters and social media. We have used an entire gamut of ways to talk to people, not just about IAQ but also about things to do to handle the pandemic in a better way. Our city had done a good job till the first week of October, testing and quarantining people. It worked through summer, but when people came indoors when the temperatures fell, it went bad. We had our first set of vaccinations, yesterday (the interview with Mayor Brainard took place on December 15), so we hope to be in good shape by March or April 2021.
There are those that are saying building industry stakeholders simply need to reverse the polarity on their thinking when it comes to budgeting for indoor air quality and that we need to raise buildings fit for purpose.
Yes, it’s a good point. Energy for buildings is important, but I think IAQ is something that would work very well. We have tax incentive to make buildings more energy efficient, and over time if building owners do not take action, a penalty would start; and simultaneously, there will be a reduction in taxes for people who make more energy-efficient buildings. And that puts the burden away from the average taxpayer. Yes, I do believe in an incentive and disincentive system for establishing good IAQ.
How to kill enveloped viruses in just 30 minutes
Poor ventilation in closed indoor environments is associated with increased transmission of respiratory infections. There have been numerous SARS-CoV-2 transmission events associated with closed spaces, including some from pre-symptomatic cases. The role of ventilation in preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission is not well-defined – that is, by preventing dispersal of infectious particles in small waterdrops to minimise the risk of transmission or preventing transfer of an infectious dose to susceptible individuals.
SARS-CoV-2 is thought to be primarily transmitted through large respiratory droplets; however, an increasing number of outbreak reports implicate the role of aerosols in SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks. Aerosols consist of small droplets and droplet nuclei, which remain in the air for longer than large droplets. Studies indicate that SARS-CoV-2 particles can remain infectious on various materials, such as air conditioning surfaces in air ducts and air handlers, as well as in aerosols in indoor environments, with the duration of infectivity depending on temperature and humidity.
While HVAC coatings are often the most cost-efficient insurance for the longevity of your air-handling system, there’s much more to them than just increasing your building systems’ lifespan. The rising demand for antimicrobial coatings was triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and tenants worried about their wellbeing from airborne diseases. In the same category, antimicrobial coatings can make a huge difference for indoor air quality and occupant safety. There are a number of HVAC coatings that drive energy savings, primarily desiccant-coatings.
Found on AHU heat exchangers, coils and in duct systems, they enable recovering heat and moisture, which then helps building owners to save on operational cost. Recent studies have uncovered an extreme antimicrobial effect of desiccant coating systems, in high relative humidity, as present in air conditioning systems. It appears the surfactants can break the exterior protein of a virus or bacteria strain. Once the protein is destroyed, the virus cannot attach to cells and transfer or alter human ribonucleic acid (RNA).
In many circumstances, once microbes have begun to proliferate on a painted surface, constant cleaning and disinfecting is required to keep growth under control, which is highly unwanted inside an air conditioning system. Recognising that the ability to clean constantly is unreasonable in most air conditioning systems, the best weapon against corrosion and microbial growth is an antimicrobial paint that prevents growth of, or eliminates, bacteria and viruses. Both the coating and the possible active ingredient should not produce any environmental, safety or health issues during application. Any off-gas from the film is unwanted, because ideally, the coating must be applied to air conditioning systems in operation without any concern of release of poisonous additives.
Antimicrobial efficacy based on silver ions
Generally, an antimicrobial surface contains an additive, like Agion, which inhibits the antimicrobial property that is composed primarily of silver ions, which have been proven in antimicrobial use throughout history. It incorporates silver ions inside a zeolite carrier, providing an area for these ions to exchange with other positively charged ions – often sodium – from the moisture in the environment.
Once exchanged, these now “free” silver ions are attracted to oppositely charged hydrogen ions, commonly found in most bacteria and microbes. The bacteria and microbes’ respiration and growth are now abruptly halted, since the hydrogen ions are no longer available. Silver based antimicrobial coatings contain a pesticide additive that evaporates slowly from the coating surface and raises questions on the durability of discharge. In Europe and North America, these coatings require a registration by the government authorities.
Antimicrobial efficacy based on desiccation
Enveloped viruses, like the H1N1 influenza virus, Corona (COVID-19) and bacteria have membranes of protein and enzymes to protect the infecting contents. The spreading of the viruses and bacteria in closed spaces and air conditioning systems is carried out by smaller aerosols. Alternative antimicrobial functionality is based on desiccation, a physical process to extract the moisture from the virus and bacteria particles. This approach may seem relatively primitive; however, it is extremely effective in slowing down or even preventing microbes from spreading and transmission. This method is similar to other physical treatments, such as UV irradiation, filtering and heating.
Desiccant coatings inactivate a wide variety of microbes that adhere to the surface through their hydrophilic surface properties. The antiviral functionality of the coating has been tested on the Phi6 virus, which is commonly used as surrogate for enveloped Corona viruses.
A recent study shows that a desiccant coating can have an extremely quick kill-rate of enveloped viruses after just 30 minutes.
Further studies have proven that strong antimicrobial working was additionally confirmed. Surface activity results in full kill-rates of > 99,99%, which were confirmed on the following micro-organism strains:
- Klebsiella Pneumoniae
An important note should be added to this paper: No claim or assertion should be made that the antimicrobial properties in the coating will improve air quality or eliminate the threat of disease-causing microbes in the air supply system. A healthy indoor air system is highly dependent on a combination of design, maintenance and cleaning measurements that are incorporated in the air conditioning system and facility management procedures.
- Knibbs LD, Morawska L, Bell SC, Grzybowski P. Room ventilation and the risk of airborne infection transmission in 3 health care settings within a large teaching hospital. Am J Infect Control. 2011 Dec;39(10):866-72.
- Lu J, Gu J, Li K, Xu C, Su W, Lai Z, et al. COVID-19 Outbreak Associated with Air Conditioning in Restaurant, Guangzhou, China, 2020. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 Apr 2;26(7).
- Rothe C, Schunk M, Sothmann P, Bretzel G, Froeschl G, Wallrauch C, et al. Transmission of 2019-nCoV Infection from an Asymptomatic Contact in Germany. N Engl J Med. 2020 Mar 5;382(10):970-1.
- World Health Organization (WHO). Natural Ventilation for Infection Control in Health-Care Settings. 2009 [updated 4 May 2020].
- Ong SWX, Tan YK, Chia PY, Lee TH, Ng OT, Wong MSY, et al. Air, surface environmental, and personal protective equipment contamination by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from a symptomatic patient. Jama. 2020;323(16):1610-2.
- Bahl P, Doolan C, de Silva C, Chughtai AA, Bourouiba L, MacIntyre CR. Airborne or droplet precautions for health workers treating COVID-19? The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2020.
- Dietz L, Horve PF, Coil DA, Fretz M, Eisen JA, Van Den Wymelenberg K. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) Pandemic: Built Environment Considerations To Reduce Transmission. mSystems. 2020 Apr 7;5(2):e00245-20.
8 Evaluation of Phi6 Persistence and Suitability as an Enveloped Virus Surrogate Aquino de Carvalho, Nathalia; Stachler, Elyse N.; Cimabue, Nicole; Bibby, Kyle Environmental Science & Technology (2017), 51 (15), 8692-8700CODEN: ESTHAG; ISSN:0013-936X. (American Chemical Society)
Recent outbreaks involving enveloped viruses, such as Ebola virus and SARS COVID-2, have raised questions regarding the persistence of enveloped viruses in the water environment. Efforts have been made to find enveloped virus surrogates due to
challenges investigating viruses that require biosafety-level 3 or 4 handling. In this study, the enveloped bacteriophage Phi6 was evaluated as a surrogate for enveloped waterborne viruses. The persistence of Phi6 was tested in aq. conditions chosen based on previously published viral persistence studies. Our results demonstrated that the predicted T90 (time for 90% inactivation) of Phi6 under the 12 evaluated conditions varied from 24 minutes to 117 days depending on temperature, biological activity, and aq. media compn. Phi6 persistence was then compared with persistence values from other enveloped viruses reported in the literature. The apparent suitability of Phi6 as an enveloped virus surrogate was dependent on the temperature and compn. of the media tested. Of evaluated viruses, 33%, including all conditions considered, had T90 values greater than the 95% confidence interval for Phi6. Ultimately, these results highlight the variability of enveloped virus persistence in the environment and the value of working with the virus of interest for environmental persistence studies.
- The use of bacteriophages of the family Cystoviridae as surrogates for H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in persistence and inactivation studies
Adcock, Noreen J.; Rice, Eugene W.; Sivaganesan, Mano; Brown, Justin D.; Stallknecht, David E.; Swayne, David E.
Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A: Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering (2009), 44 (13), 1362-1366CODEN: JATEF9; ISSN:1093-4529. (Taylor & Francis, Inc.)
Two bacteriophages, .vphi.6 and .vphi.8, were investigated as potential surrogates for H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in persistence and chlorine inactivation studies in water. In the persistence studies, .vphi.6 and .vphi.8 remained infectious at least as long as the H5N1 viruses at both 17 and 28 degrees C in fresh water, but results varied in salinated water. The bacteriophage .vphi.6 also exhibited a slightly higher chlorine resistance than that of the H5N1 viruses. Based upon these findings, the bacteriophages may have potential for use as surrogates in persistence and inactivation studies in fresh water.
- Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Persistence and Disinfection of Human Coronaviruses and Their Viral Surrogates in Water and Wastewater, Andrea I. Silverman and Alexandria B. Boehm, April 2020
- Determination of the Antiviral Activity of Water-Based Coating for Air Conditioning Applications against phi6 Bacteriophage using a Method Based on ISO 21702:2019, the laboratories of Industrial Microbiological Services Ltd at Pale Lane Hartley Wintney, Hants, RG27 8DH, UK. December 2020
The writer is with Aqua Aero Coatings and may be contacted at email@example.com