Hospital air quality affects the health of staff, patients, and visitors. Healthcare facilities managers looking to keep their buildings safe must focus on providing clean air. This helps reduce the spread of viruses and prevents the growth of mold and bacteria. Doing so requires a prescriptive strategy that includes monitoring as well as remediation.
Why Hospital Air Quality is Important
Hospital air quality is critical during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. It keeps patients safe and gives staff confidence that their health is important to administrators. While it reduces transmission risk, it also helps foster positive PR. Ensuring good air quality in healthcare facilities also keeps buildings in compliance with guidelines set by local agencies as well as the CDC, ASHRAE, and ASHE.
Creating a Certified Pure Air Indoor Environment helps hospitals build a health program on the six pillars of building health. Consequently, this holistic approach uses engineered services to monitor and improve a facility’s performance and safety through cleaning and restoration.
Six Pillars of Improving Hospital Air Quality
A prescriptive strategy for improving and maintaining hospital air quality includes several methods and systems. It’s based on the six pillars of building health that include:
- Baseline evaluation of IAQ conditions
- Cleaning and restoring HVAC systems
- Reducing particles in the ductwork
- Neutralizing pathogens
- Purifying indoor air
- Monitoring conditions 24/7
Pillar 1: Testing
Testing is the first pillar. Similar to the doctor/patient relationship, a diagnosis comes before treatment. Locating the source of IAQ issues requires an investigation. This includes a visual inspection of the HVAC system. Samples collected from the AHU help our EDLab technicians determine the presence and levels of contaminants. Based on their finding, a treatment plan follows.
The team tests for the presence of pathogens such as bacteria, fungus, and mycotoxins, as well as gasses such as carbon dioxide. Technicians log readings of temperature, relative humidity, and TVOC levels. After conducting an HVAC hygiene assessment, the team also provides data on airflow, energy efficiency, and duct leakage. After analyzing these findings, the lab creates a prescriptive strategy to improve hospital air quality.
Pillar 2: Cleaning
The second pillar is the cleaning and disinfecting of the HVAC system. A cleaner system improves indoor air quality. A cleaner system works better and lasts longer. It also lowers energy and maintenance costs. Toward this goal, the PURE-Steam method uses high-temperature steam to hygienically clean the system which is then restored with the HVAC New Life process. This restores the unit for 10%-30% less than the cost of replacement.
Pillar 3: Reducing Particles
The third pillar is the reduction of particles in the system. The PURE-Duct method reduces particles in the supply and return ductwork using negative air machines equipped with HEPA filtration. The machine uses low-pressure turbulence to knock loose dirt and debris after which HEPA filtration prevents them from circulating through the ductwork.
Pillar 4: Neutralizing Pathogens
The fourth pillar is neutralizing pathogens. PURE-Decon uses EPA-registered disinfectants to kill bacteria, mold, and viruses such as SARS-VoV-2 which causes COVID-19. It calls for the use of electrostatic DEP sprayers to disinfect the HVAC system and is an integral part of hospital air quality. It’s a necessary part of the certification of the healthcare environment.
Pillar 5: Purifying Air
The fifth pillar is air purification. This involves the use of air purifiers with EnviroSmart™ detection technology and in-room HEPA filtration. It also includes the use of ultraviolet lights that use electromagnetic radiation to destroy pathogens. Germicidal UVC lights, in particular, fight the spread of viruses and kill 99 percent of all pathogens.
Pillar 6: Monitoring Conditions
The sixth and last pillar needed to ensure good hospital air quality is the monitoring of indoor environmental conditions. For example, IAQ Guard 2.0 monitors different areas of the facility. It is a critical part of the process as it ensures that hospital air quality remains safe throughout the building. IAQ Guard logs temperature and relative humidity levels as well as CO2, and TVOCs. It sends real-time data to the Building Sciences Team so they can be proactive to changes in building conditions.,,