The studied carried out by the European research and development centre of S&P UK shed light on whether mechanical or natural ventilation should be used to improve air quality and curb the risk of contracting airborne diseases such as Covid in indoor environments, such as schools, offices and hospitality venues.
Using detailed scientific modelling and analysis it found mechanical ventilation systems reduce by half the risk of Covid aerosol transmission compared to natural ventilation, such as opening windows and doors which has the added disadvantage of letting in noise, pollution and cold air in the winter.
For example, in an open plan office with 40 workers where one is infected, with everyone wearing masks, there are four infected employees after four days with natural ventilation, and two infected workers where mechanical ventilation is installed. With no masks, it rises to 13 with open windows and eight with mechanical.
Alex Finch, Managing Director of S&P UK, said: “Our research shows that investing in mechanical ventilation systems must be considered by anyone who helps to manage any indoor space. There’s plenty of generic advice on ventilation but so many sections of society are crying out for official and clear-cut guidance on the exact best ventilation for typical scenarios. We believe our research will add some weighty evidence for specialists across the heating and ventilation sector and can help provide clarity for those who are looking to actively improve their work environments to minimise the transmission of Covid.”
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