Eurovent, the European HVAC, process cooling, and cold chain technologies association, has produced its own guidance on the operation of ventilation systems during the coronavirus pandemic.

Eurovent says it has issued the document in the absence of guidance for the operation of mechanical ventilation systems from other authorities.

It repeats current knowledge that the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is spread through droplets released into the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.

“The droplets do not remain in suspension, but generally fall to the ground or land on other surfaces at a short distance from the infected person — this is why social and physical distancing are effective in preventing the spread,” Eurovent says. “This is information from Johns Hopkins University, widely recognised and quoted as a source of expertise on the coronavirus,” it points out.

It also repeats claims advanced by others that here is currently no evidence that the coronavirus can spread through ventilation or air conditioning systems.

“There is no doubt that the concentration of the smaller airborne droplets, which may contain viruses including viruses other than SARS-CoV-2 should be kept as low as possible,” Eurovent says. “This can be effectively achieved by correctly operating mechanical ventilation systems.”

Eurovent’s general recommendation is to maintain and operate ventilation systems properly in accordance with instructions and applicable hygiene standards.

As a precaution for the pandemic risk period, it offers a number of useful measures:

  • Increase ventilation rates and increase the percentage of outdoor air in the system
    • Extend the operation time of the ventilation system
    • Check that the ventilation units are properly set up and they are serviced correctly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
    • Consider maintaining the indoor relative humidity above 30% (where possible)

Eurovent promises to update these recommendations as and when new reliable information about the disease becomes available.

It cites the following as reliable sources of information:

Johns Hopkins University

In addition, the relevant hygienic guidelines can be found in the following Eurovent recommendations and guidebooks:

Eurovent Air Filters Guidebook
Eurovent Air Handling Units Guidebook
Eurovent REC 6/14 – 2000: Hygienic aspects in Air Handling Units

The Eurovent Covid-19 guidance document can be found here.