Numerous studies have found that there is a close relationship between air quality and coronavirus. Knowing indoor air quality data helps create a safer environment and inactivate the presence of the virus indoors. In what areas is it necessary to monitor environmental conditions to minimize the risk of contagion by COVID-19? How do you get it?
The world has changed forever – why does indoor air quality matter?
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world forever. Now people spend more time indoors, so indoor air quality has become a concern among the population.
One of the best solutions to prevent the risk of contagion by coronavirus is the monitoring of indoor air quality parameters such as:
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Carbon monoxide (CO)
- PM 2.5 and PM 10 particles
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
- Atmospheric pressure
The strategic areas where indoor air quality can be monitored to deactivate the presence of the virus can be:
- Offices and work centers
- Commercial premises
- Beauty centers
- Cinemas and theaters
1. Social distance – Carbon dioxide (CO2) monitoring
The CO2 concentration is directly related to the ventilation rate of the indoor environment.
During the human respiration process, in inhalation and exhalation, CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) is released and the air in a closed place begins to be contaminated.
For this reason, as long as no combustion appliances are installed, CO2 is considered an indicator of air quality and social distance, since the main source of emission indoors is people themselves.
Promoting indoor air quality monitoring in leisure and workspaces will help improve co-responsibility and citizen participation in controlling the pandemic.
What does the ASHRAE Standard 62-2001 say about CO2?
ASHRAE Standard 62-2001 recommends 700 ppm above the outdoor concentration as the upper limit for occupied rooms (usually around 1,000 ppm). This is the answer provided for a technical FAQ about CO2 concentrations:
Recently ASHRAE declared unequivocally that COVID-19 is airborne saying “Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is significant and should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures”
2. Activity level – Noise monitoring
In this context of a COVID-19 pandemic, real-time noise monitoring allows managers and users of buildings to know the level of activity. Once the organisms have accepted aerosols as a means of contagion, governments have begun to update prevention protocols by adding complementary measures, such as noise reduction in closed spaces.
Raising the tone of your voice and speaking above ambient noise makes people dangerous propagators of the coronavirus. For example, the CSIC (Higher Center for Scientific Research) they have stated that measures such as noise monitoring can help to minimize the risk of contagion by COVID-19.
José Luis Jiménez, a chemist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, declared to El Confidencial that “When you breathe, you are emitting particles from your saliva or respiratory fluid, from the trachea and from the lungs. If you speak, you emit 10 times more. If you scream or sing, 50 times more, so if you are infected, these particles carry the virus and, since they are not very heavy, they remain floating like smoke, which is also an aerosol” .
These figures come from previous studies on the general behavior of aerosols and also from more current and specific experiments on SARS-CoV-2.
Acoustic comfort inside buildings is a differentiating aspect that is increasingly valued by users. In fact, noise has become a pollutant about which the population has experienced greater awareness in order to achieve better comfort and quality of life.
In recent years noise has become one of the pollutants on which society has experienced greater awareness in order to achieve a better quality of life for citizens.
In this way, preventive and/or corrective measures can be taken in time to guarantee the acoustic quality of the environment and the well-being of its users.
3. Spread of virus in dust – PM particle monitoring
Until now, studies have been published on the transmission of viruses in the air through aerosols, the droplets that a person exhales when sneezing, coughing or talking. The discovery about the transmission of viruses through dust is so recent that it opens a new horizon in the investigation of the forms of contagion.
A study conducted by the University of California at Davis and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, and published in Nature Communications, shows that influenza (flu) virus can spread through the air in dust, fibers and other microscopic particles.
According to this publication, virus particles are what adhere to dust, fibers or other materials. It is a finding that, considering the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, becomes even more important, when knowing more in detail how this and other viruses that exist, such as the flu, are spread.
4. Prediction of cleaning patterns – VOCs monitoring
The current situation due to COVID-19 has generated disinfection needs higher than usual in different sectors and economic activities. Cleaning services companies that until now have been using some disinfectant, such as bleach, have started to carry out a more intense activity and some require the use of a wider range of disinfectant products classified in a generic way, such as for professional use
The use of these products made with chemical components can significantly affect indoor air quality and human health. Therefore, in this context of a COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to monitor volatile organic compounds (VOCS).
5. Presence and activation of the virus – Monitoring of temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure
Numerous scientific investigations have analyzed how humidity levels in indoor environments play an important role in the transmission of the coronavirus. Maintaining relative humidity levels between 40% and 60% disables virus particles in the air, thereby helping to control the spread of viruses such as COVID-19.
Scientists from the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Peking University have analyzed that exhaled bioaerosols evaporate rapidly in a low humidity environment. At the same time, this has been supported by another study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the effect of relative humidity on aerosols infected by COVID-19. The scientists found that the rapid inactivation of the virus occurs at a relative humidity of 43%, even if they are suspended in the air.
At a relative humidity of 7 to 23%, the infectivity of the germs after 60 minutes is 77%.
At a relative humidity of 43%, the infectivity of the germs after 60 minutes is 15%.
Monitoring environmental conditions with Nanoenvi IAQ
When it comes to dealing with viruses, like Sars-COV2, the lower the risk, the better. For this, it is advisable to install a device such as Nanoenvi IAQ, developed by ENVIRA IoT, which monitors parameters such as CO, CO2, VOCS, PM2.5 and PM10, as well as environmental variables such as temperature, pressure and humidity. This team calculates an index of ambient air quality that measures the level of health and well-being in indoor spaces. Building owners and users can know the quality of the air they breathe simply as the device visually displays the air quality through a color code