Ventilation and the challenges for the hospitality sector during the COVID-19 pandemic situation is definitely a current topic.
The COVID-19 emergency has had a substantial impact on society, businesses and how we approach to services and products.
Among the businesses that have suffered COVID -19 the most, there is the hospitality sector.
The lockdown imposed by governments across the world during the first wave of Coronavirus have helped controlling the spread of Coronavirus. But that has also forced the hospitality sector to pull back as hotels in many countries were forced to close. After the summer, as an effect of the first lockdown, businesses have gradually reopened. Hotels have started providing their services to their guests although in most cases forced to avoid full occupancy of their buildings to guarantee social distancing and minimize the possibility of infection among guests.
With the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19, both guests and operators are left with a question:
Can ventilation systems in hotels have an effect on the spread of the Coronavirus? And for hotel operators, is it worth upgrading their ventilation systems to ensure guests have a safe stay?
Are ventilation systems really able to prevent the spread of Coronavirus?
Ventilation systems represent a great solution to ensures the achievement of both thermal comfort and great air quality levels in indoor environments. But not only, they are also a great resource to minimize the spread of Coronavirus.
This idea has been backed by many scientific studies, which have been highlighting the importance of ventilation systems able to provide adequate air exchange and filtration. The most recent study bringing up this idea is the “The Role of Air Conditioning in the Diffusion of Sars-CoV-2 in Indoor Environments: a First Computational Fluid Dynamic Model, based on Investigations performed at the Vatican State Children’s Hospital”, but a similar idea was already brought up by another important study: “Evidence for probable aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in a poorly ventilated restaurant”.
Find here a review on the importance of ventilation systems to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
Maintaining high levels of air quality and air change is very important if we want to minimize the possibility of spreading of the Coronavirus in indoor environments,
We know that because the rate of virus transmission is influenced by factors, including:
- The dose of the pathogen
- The virulence of the pathogen
- The time the pathogen has been in the air or on a surface
- The resistance level of the host
And based on this information, we know a more densely populated room is likelier to have a higher number of infected individuals and therefore a higher concentration of pathogenic particles. So, we can conclude that the risk of infection in that same room can be reduced by increasing fresh air flow and diluting the concentration of pathogens in the air.
The challenges the hospitality sector is facing
The major challenges hotels are facing can be summarized for the most part in the following list:
- Quick reaction to local restrictions around the number of building occupants
- Consistently maintain building comfort, while ensuring Indoor Air Quality
- Increasing need for filtration
- Finding cost-effective solutions
Of course, businesses in this sector need to react quickly to the situation created by this pandemic and improving their ventilation systems seems to be a fairly good idea since it is a recognized way to minimize the spread of the virus in indoor environment.
But that is not enough. Ensuring guests’ safety is fundamental, but that could not happen at the expenses of comfort and guests’ stay experience. For this reason, the hotels must use ventilation solutions that not only can allow proper air exchange indoors but can also ensure that comfort temperature in the building is constantly maintained while Indoor Air Quality standards are fulfilled.
Find more information here about how Daikin ensures comfort and wellbeing of hotel guests here.
In fact, care of customers is very important in these times, but comfort cannot be forgotten and ASHRAE recommendations are a great guide to balance the two needs. Among those, filtration recommendations have increased, so, it is important to choose a ventilation system that can effectively filter outdoor air which will replace the indoor air extracted.
And the, last, but not least, there is the need to satisfy all the previously mentioned needs with a cost-effective solution, which is effective and is good value for the money.
Find here more details about how Hotels can optimize costs thanks to Daikin ventilation solutions
The first step to do is taking this opportunity to create and maintain a healthier building for both the employees and guests. Upgrading the building with a mechanical ventilation system is the right way to start.
So, when there is already an Air Conditionig system, it is recommended to pair up the system – whether it is hydronic or direct expansion – with a mechanical ventilation system that ensures adequate air exchange and ventilation of the indoor environments.
This is recommended not only by industry associations (REHVA and ASHRAE), but also by the Italian National Health Institute – Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS reports COVID-19 • n. 5/2020 Rev. 2 and ISS COVID-19 • n. 33/2020).
It is important to understand that ventilation systems need to be properly sized in order to guarantee the adequate air exchange rate in indoor environment and properly clean the air. Along with special attention to air exchange rate, it is important to acknowledge the importance of highly efficient filters, able to ensure the highest level of air filtration and keep indoor environments clean at all times.
Find here the guidelines drawn by experts from REHVA summarized
About IAQ, it is important to choose technology that can ensure Air-flows separation, which makes the contamination between the air flows entering and leaving the unit impossible.
As far as comfort and cost-effectiveness, instead, it is important to choose technology that has the best value for the money, and choosing technology featuring heat recovery and low noise options are often the best way to ensure a quiet and comfortable stay for the guests and a lower operating costs for hotel operators.
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