With greater emphasis than ever before on the role of good ventilation in protecting people from airborne infections, here we highlight the importance of controlling CO2 levels for this purpose and why Biocool evaporative coolers make this much more manageable.
The COVID-19 outbreak changed perspectives on what is required to limit the risk of airborne diseases being spread, especially in indoor settings.
With aerosols containing dangerous bacteria or viruses able to remain in the air for hours after they are coughed, sneezed or spoken into the atmosphere, the need for fresh air to consistently replace this stagnant, contaminated air is vital. And good ventilation is essential to making this possible.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released its own roadmap to ensuring good indoor ventilation in all types of buildings. In factories containing dozens, if not hundreds, of people in a space at any given time, this need is even more pressing. If air is not frequently replaced with fresh air from outside, the risk of contamination increases considerably.
However, right now there is no accurate way to measure or track virus particles in a room or indoor space. How can we then determine if these environments pose a risk for workers? By using a helpful proxy – carbon dioxide (CO2).
Below we outline why managing CO2 levels is important to minimising the risk of airborne infections, and how Biocool’s evaporative cooling systems make it straightforward to control the CO2 levels in your factory.
How does CO2 indicate a risk of COVID and other diseases?
The level of CO2 inside a building is a strong indicator of the amount of air that has previously been exhaled by people in the area.
As a result of climate change, the concentration of CO2 in the planet’s atmosphere is approximately 412ppm (parts per million). In enclosed environments without good ventilation, the more air that people exhale (the average person exhales around 1kg per day), the higher the PPM will be in that environment.
People breathe out CO2, and at the same time they breathe out aerosols and droplets that might contain bacteria or virus particles, including COVID-19. Therefore, it is possible to infer that the more CO2 in an environment, the more aerosols that are also in the atmosphere that have the potential to infect others in that location.
Imagine a car with two people in it and no ventilation. Within 10 minutes there will be around 4,000ppm of CO2 in this environment. That means that approximately 10% of the breaths you take will have already been breathed out by one of the two people in the car.
Consequently, if one of these two people had COVID, the risk of contracting COVID from this previously exhaled air will grow exponentially. After 30 minutes the risk of infection for the other person will be 30% – after an hour it will be 71%.
Expand that example to a factory floor with dozens of people sharing that space. If there is little to no ventilation here, the rate in which the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere will be very fast, and subsequently heighten the risk of contamination from airborne diseases.
A 2019 study on an outbreak of tuberculosis in a Taipei University in Taiwan emphasises this point further, as poor ventilation meant CO2 levels approached 3,000ppm. When this was brought down to around 600ppm, the outbreak was contained.
In summary, CO2 levels can act as the canary down a coal mine for COVID and other airborne infections – the higher the CO2 level, the greater risk of these infections remaining in the atmosphere.
The risks of excessive CO2 levels
As highlighted, excessive CO2 levels are a strong indicator that an area is at risk of airborne diseases being spread. Due to this several countries, including Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom, have established CO2 monitoring as part of their guidelines to determine whether buildings are appropriately ventilated.
While the recommended amount of CO2 in the air will vary depending on a location’s regulations, many consider anywhere below 1,000ppm to be a good level to aim for to minimise the risks of COVID spread, while taking into account the limitations of introducing fresh air constantly into an indoor setting.
However, controlling CO2 levels is not just important as a means to reduce the spread of airborne infections – excessive CO2 in the atmosphere is dangerous on its own. If a poorly ventilated area allows CO2 levels to build up significantly, this can hurt the health, wellbeing and performance of workers in numerous ways:
Loss of concentration
Increased heart rate
High levels of CO2 can therefore cause people to feel unwell at work, negatively affecting their happiness and performance, and consequently hurt the productivity of your company as a whole.
Good ventilation is one of our biggest allies in the battle against high CO2 levels and the spread of infectious diseases. While reducing the number of people occupying indoor spaces can also limit the amount of CO2 being exhaled, in most cases this will hamper the productivity of your business, something you can avoid through effective ventilation.
How Biocool evaporative coolers combat CO2 levels
Biocool’s evaporative coolers do more than maintain comfortable temperature and humidity levels inside a factory or similar environment. They also make a decisive impact on ventilating the area and keeping the air inside at a good, healthy quality.
Our unique bioclimatization system renews the air inside your facility with 100% filtered air from outside. This fresh, renewed air helps keep the air within your building safe for all occupants, protecting their wellbeing and ensuring you comply with regulations.
Biocool units achieve this by using CO2 levels as an indicator, as recommended by experts across the globe in the battle against infectious diseases like COVID-19. Through our advanced Smart City Cooler controller, you can adjust the ventilation parameters for your evaporative coolers to keep the amount of CO2 within your building at a safe, recommended level.
This ensures that the air people are breathing is renewed and healthy, while stale, breathed-out air is directed outdoors. This limits the presence of aerosols that carry infections, and prevents CO2 levels from reaching a point that they become harmful to your employees.
Through the Smart City Cooler, you can also:
Control up to 10 Biocool evaporative coolers at one time, making adjustments both individually and in groups
Monitor and manage the temperature, humidity and air quality in your environment, either manually or automatically according to your set parameters
Identify maintenance faults in individual units and the origin, minimising maintenance and repair times
Records historical data from sensors and hours of operation
In addition, our evaporative coolers play a role in fighting the growing amount of CO2 in the wider atmosphere. As a completely natural form of cooling, with no use of refrigerant gases that harm the ozone layer, our solutions do not emit tons of CO2 like traditional air-conditioners.
Plus, when compared to traditional air-conditioning systems, evaporative cooling’s low energy consumption results in great financial savings and overall energy expenditure – keeping your operating costs low and making a massive difference to the amount of CO2 sent into the atmosphere.
Limit CO2 in your facilities
The need to limit the amount of CO2 in factories has always been crucial to protecting the wellbeing and comfort of workers in these environments. But, due to the COVID pandemic and the relationship between CO2 and the risk of contamination, having a system in place that actively manages CO2 levels in your building is more vital than ever.
Biocool evaporative coolers can make all the difference in this area. To find out more about the incredible benefits these solutions offer over traditional air conditioning systems, get in touch with our experts today.
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