The COVID-19 pandemic has gripped the world, with focus now turned to the control and prevention of the spread of the coronavirus. People around the world have been urged to avoid crowded areas, and stay home to control and minimize the spread of the disease.
While many people believe that the prevention of infection with the coronavirus (Covid-19), is requiring them to take health and hygiene precautions only when they are outside their homes; it is essential to point out that there are other factors – apart from health and hygiene – that are unknown to some in commercial and residential buildings, as well as other public crowded closed areas, which may cause infection transmission. Thus, precautionary measures are keen to close such areas, prevent crowds, and urge individuals to avoid any kind of gatherings, and safe inside their homes. Among the aforementioned factors, are those associated with the Indoor Air Quality from HVAC systems inside the public closed areas.
Eng. Maher H. Mousa, Director of Product Management, Sustainability & Energy Efficiency Policy, Al Salem Johnson Controls, said: “When we think about pollutants, we often think about those found outside, whether in the air, on the ground, or in the water, even though Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is just as vital to our everyday lives and health, and the pollutants found inside building and public closed areas should concern us just as much, if not more, especially these days when the world is faced with the challenge of fighting the spread of the COVID-19 and other diseases.”
Indoor Air Quality
Eng. Maher said that the design and operation of HVAC systems can hinder disease transmission in several ways. HVAC systems supply clean air to susceptible occupants, such as in crowded and closed spaces, thereby helping in reducing the possibility of disease transmission.
Al Salem Johnson Controls offers a complete range of advanced solutions and technologies covering filtration, proper humidification and ultraviolet air purifiers that reduce airborne contaminants to achieve an optimum room temperature and humidity, and a cleaner and healthier IAQ. YORK’s Air Handling Units show how HVAC units can play an important role in reaching the required levels of IAQ and beyond.
These HVAC units supply 100% fresh air by containing contaminated air and exhausting it to the outdoors, and then replacing it with well-treated fresh air, which re-enters the space after a rigorous filtration process; this process cleans the air within the space/room. Air filtration starts with the pre-filtration stage to prevent dust particles from passing through air. YORK’s units are equipped with filters that do not allow the passage of big particles to the air-conditioned environment through multiple stages of filtration that can achieve up to 95% filtration efficiency in comfort application, and 99.95% in medical application, thereby increasing the IAQ depending on the application.
Another technology applied in the HVAC Air Side Systems is the ultraviolet lights (UV). These lights can help enhance the IAQ as well as eliminate many types of fungi, bacteria, germs, viruses and pathogens. Typically, the UV lights are installed within the air handler, which remains turned on 24/7. The HVAC UV lights are effective at controlling mold growth inside the air handler, as all mold in the line-of-sight of the UV bulb is killed, keeping the coil mold-free.
Al Salem Johnson Controls (YORK) is not just an HVAC supplier, but it is also a provider of specialized, integrated and customizable solutions that meet the customers’ needs. One of the most unique features of the company is its ability to integrate HVAC solutions, control systems and platforms, and data analytics, to help achieve maximum levels of indoor air quality and provide hygienic environments.
An application of its integrated systems in hospitals, for example, is its ability to transform a regular hospital room into either an operation room or an isolation room (with 100% fresh air) and vice versa, as required. This is done by the integration of YORK Hygienic Air Handling Unit (AHU) with different control technologies. The certified YORK Hygienic AHU is a special model that complies with strict hygiene requirements, based on international standards (DIN-1946-4, VDI 6022, EN1886 and EN13053). The unit is suitable for hospitals/health care centers, pharmaceutical factories, laboratories, food industries and other places.
Control technologies include Venturi valves, room pressure monitoring and control systems, which have the ability to maintain the room pressure at safe levels and the air changes per hour (ACH) in compliance with ASHRAE regulations, with minimum energy consumption, keeping the temperature and humidity at the desired levels for the occupants’ comfort.
Advanced Al Salem Johnson Controls’ Building Management Systems (JCI BMS) enable the integration of different technologies into one centralized platform for monitoring, controlling and reporting. By integrating the Hospital Health Care Management System with the HVAC units, the BMS ensures that the environmental conditions in patient rooms, operation theaters and isolation rooms are automatically maintained at the recommended levels, and monitored in real time by different stakeholders from anywhere, using a smart device, thanks to the web-based distributed user interface architecture of JCI BMS.
Maintenance is Vital
Using the right procedure for the maintenance of the equipment has a huge impact in eliminating any potential microbial growth in the HVAC unit and the air delivered by it. Performing preventive maintenance procedures, such as cleaning surfaces, filters and cooling coils, at regular intervals, is key to maintaining decent indoor air quality.
Al Salem Johnson Controls, a pioneering provider of integrated solutions that incorporate HVAC equipment, building management systems and controls, for the residential, commercial and industrial sectors, in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt and Yemen, has a complete range of HVAC solutions, with the capability to engineer and customize each solution to meet the requirements of different applications and circumstances, in addition to the largest specialized aftermarket team in the Middle East.