Over the last 20 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has raised a lot of facility-related factors that can directly affect the health and safety of occupants. This has created the need for Facility Managers (FMs) to learn about creative ways to clean, disinfect and improve indoor air quality and ventilation.
Proactive FMs have had to learn new strategies and proactively fight the airborne virus from every angle possible.
Present employees with a healthy and safe work environment when they come into the facility - check out Flagship’s free resource: Stay Open Responsibly, Best Practices for Post-Pandemic Facilities Maintenance.
This has meant that most facilities have increased cleaning regimens, disinfection processes, and ventilation interventions to reduce viral spread within facilities.
Why it’s Important for Workplaces
In a workplace, people can spend eight or more hours breathing each other’s exhaled air – and their germs. If there are infectious viral droplets lingering in the air, those virus particles can remain in the air for hours and infect a large percentage of your workforce.
You may remember the story about the outbreak of COVID-19 at a call center in South Korea. A joint response team launched an epidemiologic investigation with contact tracing and found how just one infectious person can increase the risk for everyone in a workplace. Out of 216 people on the floor, 94 were infected. Most of the infected worked in rows of desks grouped on one side of the office.
Reducing Aerosolized Particles
Experts have learned that ventilation improvements in schools, hospitals, workplaces, and basically every indoor environment, are essential to helping remove aerosolized viruses from the air and reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
However, because of a facility's age or structural limitations, not every facility can improve its ventilation to the degree it needs. Others may find that the cost of these changes are too much for the business to handle.
Budget-Friendly Air Cleaning Hack
Introducing portable air cleaners. They are a practical strategy to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in hospitals and could potentially reduce and filter aerosolized particles in any setting. They are even being used at quarantine hotels and other health settings, where the aerosolized viral particles are extremely high.
Portable air cleaners have been found to reduce and remove viral particles in the air. But make sure you have the right machine for the job.
You want a portable air cleaner:
- Equipped with a HEPA filter (the higher the MERV rating, the more viral particles will be filtered from the air)
- Built to handle the space’s square footage (or increase the number of units to add up to the space’s square footage)
- Has a clean air delivery rate (or CADR) of at least 300 cubic feet per minute
Can be moved around the facility and placed in areas of high traffic for optimum results
If you’re unsure which air filtration unit is best for your needs, the Association for Home Appliance Manufacturers has a guide for buying air cleaners.
Air Purifier Research
Recently, air cleaners have been used to compensate for less-efficient ventilation systems and to reduce viral particles in areas like COVID units and quarantine hotels.
Cambridge University studied the airflow, transmission, and clearance of aerosols in the clinical spaces of a hospital ward that had been used to care for patients with SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19).
They examined how aerosols rapidly traveled from the patient’s room into other parts of the ward and examined different ways to reduce viral travel.
They found that air cleaners effectively removed the aerosols from the air in clinical spaces and reduced their spread to other areas. They used 2 small domestic air cleaners in a patient’s room of a hospital ward, and that resulted in 99% of aerosols being cleared within 5.5 minutes and reportedly raised the protection level equal to about 30 air changes per hour.
Improve Air Quality with Cleaning and Disinfection
Hygiene standards in offices have never been higher to reduce the spread of viruses. In the U.S., 80 percent of businesses consider cleanliness and sanitation their top concern when managing COVID-19 risks for employees, customers, and the public.
Using smart cleaning and disinfection strategies can help improve the air quality and help your air purifiers and ventilation systems do their job better.
Improving the air quality at your facility is important to you, and your employees. If you’d like more detailed information, make sure you check out Flagship’s expert discussion: Peace, Love and IFM – Beyond HVAC: Indoor Air Quality and COVID-19. In this previously-recorded discussion, top experts in IFM and IAQ talked about indoor air quality (IAQ) changes that should be made during COVID-19 and some strategies to improve your facilities’ IAQ that go beyond the HVAC system.