25/02/2021 – Hotels / Covid / Quarantine / Horizon Controls / HVAC / Airflow
Quarantine hotels must ensure HVAC is ‘Covid-secure’, warns building specialist
Building intelligence architects at Horizon Controls are warning that government plans to introduce mandatory hotel quarantine expose a loophole in HVAC legislation within hotels. The specialist firm offers tips to hoteliers on how to curb the spread.
Currently there is no legislation that governs the state of the internal air quality and the management of HVAC plant in hotels. This reveals a gap in the fight to make hotels Covid-secure. This challenge is compounded by the fact that many hotel rooms do not have easily openable windows, which makes it hard to introduce sufficient quantities of fresh air.
Horizon Controls is also concerned that poorly maintained HVAC can be a facilitator for Covid flow around a building – and if so, this could mean that quarantined hotels unintentionally become incubators for the disease.
Making hotels Covid-secure
There are a number of ways hotel groups and hoteliers can ensure their hotels are Covid-secure. These include:
• Ventilation: This is an important factor in preventing the spread of Covid. Recirculated air from split air conditioning units, fan coils or any system that runs with a recirculation mode should be avoided where possible, unless in a single occupancy room with no one else present. If recirculation is unavoidable, increase the number of air changes possible with outdoor air exchange by opening windows, if possible and safe to do so.
• Maintenance: it is imperative to ensure that any lapsed maintenance regime during lockdown is kept up-to-date upon reopening as a ‘quarantine-only’ hotel. The maintenance of HVAC units – and central plant in particular – for leaks, legionella and dirty filters is vital.
• Guest changeover regime: As well as deep cleaning of surfaces, it is important to instill a new HVAC systems maintenance and service routine between guests with in-room filter, coil and water trays given particular attention.
• Monitor air flow in common areas: Quarantine guests may inadvertently make corridors a holding bay for Covid when bedroom doors are opened to collect food deliveries.
• Install sensors: This will allow for the monitoring of carbon dioxide, humidity and pollutants to validate and alert on VOC levels in the rooms.
• Embrace technology: Invest in IoT technologies and central BMS control solutions that are designed to help hoteliers remotely manage and maintain equipment, in order to ensure that the internal air quality within each room is Covid-secure.
Horizon Controls – a UK-based company of building intelligence architects – said that it could support hoteliers in ensuring their locations are Covid-secure both before they open and during quarantine guest occupancy.