This means that traditionally the ventilation systems operate a model whereby a percentage of the air is re-circulated, rather than drawing in 100% fresh air.
In April 2020, The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) acknowledged the potential for airborne aerosol transmission of SARS with a wealth of evidence since confirming that poorly ventilated indoor spaces increase possible transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
Although most government restrictions no longer apply, the CIBSE COVID-19 Ventilation Guidelines outline the importance of providing adequate ventilation as a legal requirement * and a significant component of a healthy work environment. The same paper, published in July 2021, stressed that it is preferable not to recirculate air from one space to another to reduce the spread of airborne infections.
And so, there has been a distinct shift in priority following the COVID-19 pandemic. Health and safety, whilst always prevalent is now paramount, with many manufacturers now looking to adopt a ‘fully fresh’ ventilation model. This approach sees 100 per cent of the air brought in from the outside, as opposed to a percentage of it being re-circulated, in a drive to reduce risk levels.
However, as winter approaches and temperatures fall, this poses a major challenge as their existing infrastructure struggles to heat the increased volume of fresh air as it is drawn in from the outside. In the least Facilities Managers and Operators will have to expand their heating capacity in order to deliver upon the latest health and safety directives.
James Garvey, Site Operations Lead at Nestle Product Technology Centre, York comments: “In recent years our primary focus has been efficiency and whilst this remains of high importance, health and wellbeing are key following the pandemic. With new ways of working & guidance to run our technology centre on full fresh air, with limited to no re-circulation, we recognise when faced with colder weather conditions, our current infrastructure will struggle to maintain the correct temperatures & conditions. We are actively working with the Newsome team and looking to address this through expanding our heating capacity and evolving our current systems.”
David Harker, Managing Director at Newsome, said: “Nestle PTC is certainly not unique in this challenge. We envisage that at least half of manufacturing operations will struggle in low ambient conditions this winter unless they expand their heating capacity. Prior to the pandemic efficiency and driving down carbon emissions were the priority, and whilst they remain and will always be important, health and safety has taken the lead for our customers and partners right now.
“We therefore strongly urge companies to review their current ventilation systems sooner rather than later - before the cold weather really kicks in - to see whether their current systems will be able to increase the volume of fresh air being re-circulated.
“Newsome is therefore offering a Ventilation Viability Review to help companies assess whether their current systems are capable of delivering 100% ‘fully fresh’ ventilation.”