What I’ve missed most about pre-covid life, particularly in the cold winter months is spending time with friends.
Sitting in a restaurant or in a bar, being at the office surrounded by people. Being able to meet in busy indoor places and not have to worry about safety. It’s all things I took for granted and I just want to have this life back.
For many, COVID-19 has caused fear, anxiety and frustration and no-one has been left untouched. However, over the last year it’s become clear we are not out of the woods yet and we need to learn to live with the virus.
Fortunately, in the outdoors we can live much more normal lives. With plenty of fresh, moving air the risk of catching COVID-19 off someone is low.
One path back to normality is to make our indoor climates safe like our outdoor ones. But how do we do this?
The key to safer indoor climates is ventilation.
COVID-19, like many airborne viruses, spreads through aerosols (tiny droplets in the air) when an infected person breathes or exhales. Ventilation and fresh airflow disperses the aerosols, lowering their concentration and making the air safer.
Although it’s difficult to measure aerosols directly, we can measure CO2, which is also exhaled during breathing. By measuring CO2 concentrations we can tell how much air in a room has already been exhaled and how much we need to ventilate to keep the room safe.
Ventilation seems simple enough but it’s a guessing game. For example, when is the right time to ventilate? How long do you ventilate for? When is the climate safe enough for people? Winter also makes this difficult as opening windows for too long lets heat escape while everyone inside freezes.
For better ventilation we need the help of technology, and it is available. Using sensors to monitor CO2 and air quality we can be directed when to ventilate.
By maintaining fresh air in our indoor climates we will be able to re-open again. People will have peace of mind knowing they are safer. We will have less fear of being inside and more people can be inside at once. It will mean returning towards normality.
Creating healthier climates also offers lasting benefits beyond the pandemic. It will enable us to reduce heat loss through controlled ventilation. It will offer protection against other airborne viruses like the flu, leading to less sick days. Finally, it will improve concentration and reduce illnesses and allergies caused by our buildings, which are becoming much more frequent as we spend more of our lives indoors.
Schools are one part of society that have been hit very hard. School restrictions and closures due to COVID-19 are placing a heavy burden on society and it’s essential they return to normality soon. RYSTA has developed an indoor climate monitor which is being successfully used in schools in Germany.
The schools are experiencing numerous benefits. It’s taking the guesswork out of ventilation and relieving the fears and anxieties felt by teachers and students. Furthermore the energy savings through timely ventilation mean schools can allocate their valuable resources to other important areas.
But it’s not just schools who can benefit. This same technology can be applied in many other places including offices, elderly care homes, hospitality and more.
We all dream to live life as normal again. To sit in a cafe, or a restaurant with friends. To go back to school or socialise at the office. Through better control of our climates this reality is possible, and it will create healthier, more efficient buildings for the future.