VTS MEA Incorporating Operation Guidelines for preventing COVID-19 spread.

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03.12.2020
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The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome that spreads via aerosol and contact with an infected person.

The droplets, so-called aerosols, can vary in size, from 1 to over 10 µm (micron or micrometer, 1 micron equates to 0.001 mm). Experts assume that viruses do not occasionally fly in the air but are always enclosed in droplets or attached to other particulate matter. Preventive measures to be practiced minimizing the spread of the SARS-Cov-2 virus from person-to-person are the only way to effectively control this pandemic by breaking the transmission chain via aerosol droplets and physical contact.

The Ministry of Health & Prevention - United Arab Emirates - has published awareness materials. Furthermore, it has informed the community to protect themselves by practicing effective social and physical distancing, washing hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds alternatively using an alcohol-containing disinfectant, wearing a mask, gloves, thereby avoiding direct contact with surfaces, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, with proper disposal, or coughing into your elbow among many more safeguards. 

The current crisis highlights HVAC engineers’ responsibilities, along with service and maintenance personnel, building owners, operators, and facility management providers, to carefully assess building ventilation systems and their conditions. Proper ventilation, with a higher degree of fresh air supply, the correct filter types, and careful maintenance, can be essential factors in the coronavirus outbreak’s containment.

Considering the outline provided by Eurovent Middle East basic recommendations, the direct or indirect safeguards bearing on the spread of viruses and people’s well-being in occupied spaces are based on a broad industry consensus. They should give guidance to best practices concerning air filtration and ventilation during the current crisis.

Bearing in mind conditions having multiple occupancies with the highest footfall rate, VTS UAE is facilitating the need for all commercial and industrial establishments, healthcare facilities, educational instructions, and many more establishments to prevent the spreading of COVID-19 virus with its Eurovent Certified AHU incorporated with advanced management systems. These include necessary precautionary consideration for the proper operation of air conditioning and ventilation systems with appropriate maintenance of temperature and relative humidity levels in any indoor spaces.

VTS Group UAE offers AHUs equipped with HEPA filters - High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters, available with various efficiency levels with the media having moisture resistance and fire retardance. The uniform and closed pleat filter pack grants a high crossing surface to hold the very fine dust particles, with filters having antimicrobial properties based on the application use and customer choice.

Each filter undergoes quality assurance testing per N1822 and American Standard IEST-RP-CC001.3.

These filters' three main characteristics are the efficiency in removing various sized particles in the air, the creation of resistance to flow, and dust holding capacity.  Filters are rated based on their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating.  This ranges from 1 to 20, with higher values ​​suggesting better filter efficiency.  MERV 10 will be able to filter 1–3 μm size, whereas MERV> 13 will be able to filter particles of 0.3 to 1 μm.  Medical facilities usually require MERV 14 to 16. Those filters with MERV ≥ 17 are called High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters.  HEPA filters with a MERV 17 rating have an efficiency of 99.97% against 0.3 μm size particles.

HEPA filters in VTS AHUs undergo quality assurance testing per N1822 and American Standard IEST-RP-CC001.3.

Assessing the type of building environment and the required air filter category, Eurovent recommends as below.

Utmost care must be considered while increasing the filter efficiency in an HVAC system following the HVAC system’s capacity, like fan and motor capacity, which is sufficient to accommodate the better filters without adversely affecting the system’s ability to maintain the required indoor temperature, humidity conditions, and space pressure relationships.

For proper functioning, HEPA filters must be appropriately sealed in filter racks requiring careful handling to prevent damage and preserve performance.

HEPA filters are the most effective filters - among others - in removing small particles.  With this facility, we offer UVGI fixtures.

This Ultra-Violet Germicidal Irradiation keeps the coils continuously clean and disinfected, which inactivates the virus, bacteria, and fungus, so they cannot replicate.

Representation of Air Handling Units setup with Filter and UVGI fixture

These facilities can also be incorporated with Fresh Air Handling Units, Fan Coil Units, and Packed Air conditioning units.

Original Source

[1] Coronavirus (COVID 19) Awareness material - Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Community Guide by Ministry of Health & Prevention - United Arab Emirates.

https://www.mohap.gov.ae/Documents/Corona/Community-Guide/Covid-19-Brochure-EN.pdf

[2] COVID-19 Recommendations for Air Filtration and Ventilation Guide by Eurovent Middle East.

https://eurovent.me/articles/covid-19-recommendations-air-filtration-and-ventilation-eme-gen-2000400

[3] Sai Saran et al. (2020) Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) in intensive care unit

https://ccforum.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13054-020-02907-5

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