The air we breathe has become increasingly important, especially in our schools and workplaces. Since 2020, our team of academic and industrial engineers and clinicians has taken a deep dive into respiratory transmission chemistry, biology, and medicine. Attention to how respiratory aerosols disseminate, how secondary infection cases occur, and how proper infection control procedures reduce transmission risk is critical. We've delivered educational programs to dozens of audiences to help spread the word about steps to improve your air safety, quality, and cleanliness - whether for this pandemic or in preparation for the next.
The Safer Air Initiative provides guidance and expert next-steps on creating safe and healthy air in your local education agencies.
Step 1: Assessment Phase
Facility assessment for best practice for COVID-19 response
Part A: Expert Clinical and Human Factors assessment of the facilities’ policies, procedures, and protocols to ensure epidemic response best practices and meet current facility COVID19 guidelines and regulatory requirements.
Part B: Engineering Assessment of the facilities building systems characteristics for filtration, outside airflow, air-cleaning devices, and room airflow patterns for correct response to COVID-19.
Step 2: Implementation Phase
Deliver Rapid HVAC Implementation and “Defense in Depth”
- Immediate implementation of recommendations
- Implement Secondary/Intermediate Recommendations
- Capital Expenditure Recos
- Deploy Hardwired Safety Tools (HST) and related Standard Work
Step 3: Correction Phase
Continue Implementation / Retro-Commissioning
If a facility lacks the capability of providing adequate heating and cooling to provide occupant comfort and safety, a Retro-Commissioning effort will mobilize.
Most buildings systems are not operating as initially intended and require modifications beyond adjustment and balancing to provide Safe Air.
Why Pursue “Safer Air”
Most buildings' air handling systems focus on energy efficiency and thermal comfort, not safety and hygiene. Many older buildings with hot water heating systems have no air circulation or filtration systems at all. They have inherently leaky construction, providing limited outside air recirculation as remodeling has tightened the exterior walls. Newer buildings often design and add funding for laminar flow, high-efficiency fans/filters, or other technologies.
The goal of the “Safer Air” approach is not a return to “business as usual," but achieving “safer, healthier, and more productive use” – to enhance our facilities' performance. Studies have shown that Safer Air improves alertness, performance, productivity, and satisfaction.
How to sustain indoor air quality and keep schools open
Aired: June 24, 2021
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