2021 HVAC Forecast and Opportunities
Although the coronavirus outbreak this year is still new to scientists, there are evidences that COVID-19 can be transmitted through air. In fact, it can travel through aerosols, making air-conditioned and poorly ventilated rooms a highly possible place for transmission. To mitigate such a spread, there are several ways to change the existing HVAC systems in buildings.
Same with the case of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in 2004, HVAC systems are likely to spread a virus across rooms whenever high-speed air flows past an infected individual to others. If the novel coronavirus can indeed be transmitted through air, several control-setting changes and upgrades in the HVAC system can help mitigate the risk of acquiring the virus through this route.
Building managers also have the option to go the air purification route. There are already numerous technologies in the market that can purify air, with filtration being the most common and typically effective method for HVAC systems. Other technologies, such as thermal sterilization and irradiation, doesn’t remove biological particles in the air but inactivate them instead. For a cleaner air, HVAC systems can also consider incorporating ozone generators, ionic purifiers, and other devices.
Another way of ensuring the safety of buildings with HVAC systems is considering the switching of airflow patterns from turbulent airflow to vertical laminar. This principle has already been utilized in several settings to avert the spread of particles. For instance, hospital operating rooms minimize their contamination with sophisticated systems that direct air from the ceiling to the floor using laminar flow. Commercial aircrafts’ ventilation systems are also configured in such a way to decrease the spread of contaminated air in the cabins.
If building managers immediately take such actions and focus on changing their ventilation systems, their tenants will feel more comfortable inside their buildings amidst the uncertainty of COVID-19.