As the infection rate from the COVID-19 virus increase by the day, so as the focus on (IAQ) Indoor Air Quality is being highlighted during this time. The spotlight now turns to indoor environments and how everyone will feel safe in an enclosed air-conditioned space.
The Invisible Enemy
In the past, indoor air pollution in offices caused by toxic substances like asbestos, formaldehyde and airborne dust particle circulation has always been a concern with regards to IAQ. So little has been done to even consider the more immediate health threats like bacteria and viruses until today.
In the past, if one falls sick with a cold or the flu, most employees may catch it especially those with lower immune systems. The solution is if you are sick take a leave so you will not spread the virus in the office to infect others. For years even after past epidemics, it seems like nothing is being done to prevent this occurrence. In 2020 with a more potent and deadly coronavirus, things have changed, and we need to do something fast.
It is publicly known that COVID-19 infected persons may be asymptomatic carriers of the virus, in this case, are how will we know if they are infected? Based on the latest article released by the US National Institute of Health, COVID-19 can be aerosol and even stay longer on surfaces. Taking this into consideration our safety is always compromised every time we are in an enclosed indoor environment.
Commercial home air-purifiers equipped with fans and HEPA filters are only designed to eliminate dust particles that are meant to prevent allergies. Hence micro-organisms like germs bacteria and viruses are often neglected by this device because airborne pathogens are much smaller that it can pass through any filter provided by these purifiers.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities have been combating (HAI) Hospital Associated Infections ever since there has been a spike on deaths caused by viral infections on medical facilities. They have used a combination of direct and indirect UV technology to eliminate the source of these HAI’s. Robotic UV cleaners are used to directly disinfect surfaces quickly, while germicidal irradiation is used to eliminate airborne pathogens in the atmosphere, either via the HVAC system or by medical-grade air purifiers installed in walls and light fixtures.
The LumenAire™ Approach
Soon, a new product called LumenAire™ is coming out of Singapore. It has the same functions as that of a medical-grade air purifier using the same germicidal irradiation solution found in Hospitals.
*According to the (AGT) American Green Technology, The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends Pressure, Filtration, Purification, and Dilution is required to neutralize 99% of airborne pathogens.
A shielded UVGI chamber does not allow the UVC light to touch the skin and eyes, therefore it is safe to use on occupied spaces.
LumenAire™ means it uses Light + Air to reduce the risk of being infected by airborne pathogens. Nature has its way of dealing with these micro-organisms by allowing the power of the Sun’s UV light to eliminate dangerous viruses and bacteria from the air and use the same principle indoors.
This new product aims to upgrade the old methodology using the latest technology to streamline the design and make it more effective and efficient. Future variants with IOT and Sensing functionalities will be out in the market in the near future.
Check out the LumenAire™ website HERE.
The Foreseeable Future
It is all over the news and social media that the current virus situation will change mankind moving forward.
New technologies, methodologies, habits, and business will crop up. In the Architecture and Building design space, we foresee the emergence of more technologies related to ensuring Indoor Air Quality is a top priority, more of a necessity than a luxury.
After the world has overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone will be more aware that there is another important element around us to consider. Besides the comforts of air-conditioning and the need for light, indoor space should require an air purification solution to safeguard our health and ensure that a pandemic of this magnitude can be avoided in the future.
You may also consider reading this related article; Life in a co-working space during the virus outbreak