Paradigm shift to combat indoor respiratory infection - Building ventilation systems must get much better

REHVA strongly supports a campaign led by 40 scientists and engineers across 14 countries calling for a fundamental revision of building ventilation regulations to prioritize healthy and pathogen-free indoor environments.

The article was published in the Journal Science on May 13th by 40 scientists and engineers, while seven out of them are active members of REHVA’s COVID-19 task force that has developed REHVA’s COVID-19 guidance.

The main message of the article is that building regulations, and guidelines should shift their focus from comfort, to health of occupants, as the subtitle of the article states, “Building ventilation systems must get much better.”

Scientists argue that pathogens in the air should receive similar emphasis by regulations to that of food safety, sanitation and drinking water, and underline that a paradigm shift must occur now and be on a scale comparable with 19th century Britain when the government encouraged cities to organize clean water supplies and centralized sewage systems.

As documented in many studies, the benefits of improved conditions of indoor air quality in buildings extend beyond reducing the risk of infectious disease transmission and include improved general health, well-being, productivity and learning.

The article also highlights that “future ventilation systems should follow well known principles: they must be demand controlled, flexible and depend on the purpose and activity taking place (occupant density, physical activity, use of voice, etc.). Most importantly they should deliver clean air to breathing zone and remove the polluted air immediately before it is mixed completely within a space volume.”

The co-authors of the article from Nordic countries (i.e. Olli Seppänen, Jarek Kurnitski, Pawel Wargocki, Arsen Melikov, Peter V. Nielsen) call their governments and professional organizations to support this necessary paradigm shift and lead its development. The publication of the article was promoted by various media across the globe, including articles by renowned press agencies worldwide, such as BBC, Japan Times and the New York Times,  

Read the full article here.

Read the press release at FINVAC’s website.

Learn more about REHVA’s COVID-19 guidance

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