Air conditioning is known for creating a comfortable indoor environment by regulating the temperature, but did you know it can help improve building safety too?
Having an AC system can bring many benefits to a building, especially one that’s used commercially and is home to many employees and customers. Offices, shops, supermarkets and other public buildings, such as hospitals and health centres, rely on air conditioning to keep the temperature comfortable and the indoor air fresh.
Hospitals and health centres
Condensation in hospitals can lead to the build-up and spread of viruses and bacteria. Many concerned people have searched on Google for answers to the question, “Can air conditioning spread coronavirus?”
Transmission of viruses through the air should be controlled by using ventilating and air conditioning systems to help reduce airborne exposure. Air-conditioning units can remove humidity from the air, which stops the spread of infection and disease throughout the hospital.
Experts say that spaces without air conditioning can be full of stale air – so the disabling of AC systems is not a recommended measure to reduce transmission of viruses. On the contrary, scientists have found that an HVAC system with a fresh air intake unit will add clean air to your premises through its heating and cooling system, improving the indoor air quality by diluting stale or polluted air, while pressurising the premises to help keep pollutants out.
In an environment such as the office, where many people are working together in an enclosed space, good ventilation is crucial for the health and wellbeing of employees.
Research carried out by the Harvard School of Public Health suggests the HVAC can help minimise the risks of airborne transmission of bacteria and viruses – simply by fitting it with high-efficiency filters to strain particles of pollutants out of the air.
Workplace watchdog the Health and Safety Executive points out that by law, employers must ensure an adequate supply of fresh air in the workplace. Government guidelines (updated to take COVID-19 into account) state you can use most types of air conditioning systems as normal, but if your premises have a centralised ventilation system, it’s recommended that you turn off “recirculation” to use a fresh air supply instead.
As well as the obvious benefits of keeping the air clean and fresh, working in a comfortable temperature can make employees more productive and reduce the health risks of overheating.
Shops and supermarkets
Supermarkets remained open throughout the coronavirus lockdown, but when the government announced all non-essential shops in the UK could reopen on 15th June, owners were busy making sure their premises were ready for the influx of customers.
With shoppers deprived of their retail therapy since the coronavirus lockdown began on 23rd March, there was a mass stampede to the high street, with huge queues forming outside as people were desperate to go back to their favourite stores.
Retailers had to limit the number of customers inside their shop at any one time, but as people rushed around making up for lost time, the air conditioning played a vital role in keeping the temperature cool and comfortable, and the indoor air clean and fresh.
When you enter a shop, the first thing most people notice is whether it’s too hot, too cold, or just right. As well as keeping the air fresh for health and safety reasons, keeping customers comfortable is the key to increased profitability.
No-one wants to spend time in stuffy premises where they feel they’re breathing in stale air, so having the AC system on the right settings will create a fresh environment to ensure customers enjoy their visit and spend more time browsing.
According to a report released earlier this year by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, a warm indoor environment without air conditioning can cause thermal stress to the building’s occupants.
The organisation has provided guidance on the use and operation of AC units to promote healthy air quality in commercial and other public buildings throughout the pandemic – such as healthcare facilities and workplaces. Its aim is to give the worldwide community a better understanding of the important role air conditioning plays to minimise the risks of airborne infections indoors.
Klima-Therm provides a wide range of high-quality air conditioning products, including air conditioning systems and air handling units, which are suitable for a variety of business premises. For further information, please contact us for a no-obligation chat with our knowledgeable advisors.