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Poppy introduces IT-based IAQ solution at EXPO 2020 seminar

DUBAI, UAE, 21 March 2022: Canada-headquartered Poppy, which calls itself the world’s first biosafety intelligence company, introduced its IT-based IAQ devices to the MENA region during a seminar at the Canada Pavilion, at the World Expo in Dubai.

Mohammed Bin Dasmal

Opening the seminar, Nader Arafat, Strategic Advisor, MENA Region, Poppy, spoke of the pandemic ushering in a mindset shift towards Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Speaking after him, Mohammed Bin Dasmal, Managing Director, Bin Dasmal Group, called Poppy’s devices as focusing on IAQ as well as on energy savings.

Sam Molyneux, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Poppy, elaborated on Bin Dasmal’s pithy description during his presentation. Saying that the world needs to protect itself from future pandemics, he said it is important to understand indoor safety and the cost of enhancing safety. Making clean air in a cost-effective way is a global priority, he added.

Referring to the high-profile Guangzhou restaurant, the site of the precipitous outbreak of COVID-19, in the period starting from January 26 to February 10, 2020, Molyneux highlighted how a small air conditioning system was able to propagate the virus and raised ventilation concerns. In view of that, he said, in some senses, ventilation is the last stand against COVID-19. Poppy systems, he said, help in making ventilation decisions, including demand-control ventilation, as a means to achieving IAQ goals without compromising on energy efficiency targets.

Nader Arafat and Sam Molyneux

The devices, Molyneux said, available on subscription basis, detect and identify over 1,000+ pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, using genomic sequencing and molecular assays. They allow the company to collect data related to human breath, which in turn, allow understanding on how human breath moves, which he said is crucial, considering everyone is constantly breathing out particles that contain viruses.

The data, and the understanding of the data, he said, enable the company to validate how air conditioning systems are performing and, broadly speaking, provide insights and a direction for action to protect indoor spaces and occupants.

Molyneux said the company has deployed Poppy systems in 50 sites across North America and Europe, including factories, financial institutions, schools and entertainment venues. He gave the example of Poppy systems at work at the largest investment bank in Manhattan, in New York City, where the company is able to monitor the air quality in the trading floor, among other zones of the building and identify if any zones have high transmission issues that need to be looked into.

He also gave the example of the Four Seasons Center for the Performing Arts, in Toronto, Canada, where Poppy systems are at work monitoring and providing recommendations, so that the Center is able to run its operas again. “We are able to recommend increasing the ventilation rates in hotspots, which is a localised approach, and reducing ventilation rates globally,” Molyneux said. “So, we are able to achieve energy savings.”

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.

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