The "new normal" for air conditioning systems: air quality experts respond
The quality of the air we breathe has always been important, but the current situation has brought about many new questions. Leading associations in the air conditioning sector highlight some areas to be taken into account in order to maintain indoor air quality and prevent and minimise transmission of the virus as we enter the "new normal".
Experts agree that the arrival of coronavirus has posed a challenge for the sector, one that will mark the future in terms of prevention, regulation, and management of spaces, and emphasise the importance of air conditioning, ventilation and filtration systems to ensure air quality in this new context. They look to the future of the industry with responsibility and optimism, and are confident that awareness of indoor air quality will become part of our routine.
Santiago González, Director of Technical Office and Prescription at Daikin:
"Given the pandemic we are currently experiencing, it is important to act with utmost caution as there is still a lot of ignorance around transmission of the virus. Since there is no magic formula, the goal is to reduce risk as much as possible. In this regard, air conditioning systems are part of the solution as they can break down transmission routes in those indoor spaces where we spend most time."
Javier Ara, President of AEDICI:
"We are going to see regulatory changes based on the experiences and studies generated by this pandemic. And one challenge will be how we can square having post-COVID buildings and almost zero energy consumption. I believe we will have to differentiate between buildings with higher and lower levels of special protection. We may even have to ensure facilities are ready to adapt to spikes or periods of reduced transmission of the virus.
Andrés Sepúlveda, Vice President of ASHRAE SPAIN CHAPTER:
"Occupants of buildings must feel safe. This can only be achieved if the building is ventilated with outside air, obviously ensuring minimum air quality several hours before occupying, not shutting down the air conditioning systems, setting appropriate temperature and humidity levels, verifying pressurisation in the building, having high efficiency filtration, and, above all, checking that the equipment can overcome additional load loss."
Arcadio García, Technical Secretary of ATECYR:
"The air conditioning system has to be on for two reasons. Firstly, because not turning it on may produce heat stress in people, lowering their defences. And secondly, because the system counts on a mechanical means of ventilation, which obviously reduces concentration of the virus and the likelihood of transmission."
Paulino Pastor, President of FEDECAI:
"Having an ionisation kit or ozoniser will not solve the problem, as these are merely complementary measures. We need to start by controlling outbreaks, maximising ventilation and hygiene, both generally and for air conditioning systems in particular, inspecting and measuring indoor air quality, and making the most of purification and filtration systems."
Air quality leaflet
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