Why Improving Indoor Air Quality May Be Key to Increasing Hotel Bookings |
It seems it’s not just recent airline cancellations that have kept hotel bookings down from previous years. Many remain concerned about the risk of Covid-19 and how indoor air quality (IAQ) in hotels can impact their well-being more generally. Recent findings suggest that to make hotels safer, air purification systems may have reduced the risk of Covid-19 by a factor of 10.
Indoor air pollution is considered top five environmental risks to public health. From increased risk of Covid-19 infection to short-term risks of compromised IAQ, leading to headaches, nausea, dizziness, eye and throat irritation and fatigue, poor blood quality air can be debilitating and have significant health ramifications.
For the hospitality industry, ensuring guests are comfortable and safe should be of the utmost importance. As a world-class supplier of air purification systems, we airgle understand the impact that IAQ can have not only on a traveler’s experience, but also on their overall health and well-being.
First, it is important to note that building ventilation systems were never designed or intended to be discriminating enough to capture airborne viral pathogens. Viruses are extremely small, on the order of 0.1 micron in diameter. And a building’s HVAC system can’t do much. By design, HVAC systems are designed to be porous enough for adequate airflow to cool or heat a building. That’s why medical-grade air purification systems, of the stand-alone variety, are far superior to HVAC filtration.
So what can hotels do to improve IAQ? There are several ways to improve air quality for customers.
Medical grade air purification
One of the key components to improving IAQ is to use commercial, medical-grade, self-contained air purification systems. The internal filters in these systems are significantly more effective at filtering out viruses and airborne pollutants than HVAC systems. Plus, medical-grade systems have the added benefit of providing continuous, purified air changes every hour. The higher the air changes per hour (ACH), the faster the air is drawn into the air purification system and purified of contaminants.
The effectiveness of air purification systems is directly related to the quality and integrity of the type of filter used. This impacts a purifier’s ability to capture airborne contaminants, from microbial contaminants such as viral pathogens and mold, to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ultrafine particles.
Fresh air and increased ventilation
Although not as effective as a stand-alone air purifier, introducing fresh air into a space is another valuable way to remove and dilute contaminants in a concentrated space. A few simple techniques, such as opening windows when possible or placing fans near open windows, especially in common areas, are effective ways to improve IAQ.
Additionally, the HVAC systems themselves can be used to provide maximum ventilation. HVAC systems can be set to allow as much airflow as the system can safely handle, which should be considered during busiest times in the hotel or between room changes. Setting HVAC systems to “on” instead of “auto” is another way to ensure fans run continuously throughout the day. With a large number of people spending time in the same spaces, be it the gym, the lobby, or even guest rooms, having robust airflow is essential.
Identify sources of contamination
A final factor hotels need to consider is source control. This means eliminating all single sources of compromised air quality. This is one of the most cost effective ways to improve IAQ; By addressing these sources, air quality will immediately improve.
For example, damp plasterboard in the pool area can breed mold, while asbestos is often found in older buildings. Removing these sources results in less pollutants and the negative impact they have on customers, almost instantly. And the fewer pollutants there are to remove and purify, the easier it will be for an air purification system to do its job.
In a hotel, where a large number of people come in and out and share the same space every day, it is essential to use the most effective tools to combat bad IAQ. Not only is this a business imperative with more and more people rethinking their travel plans amid Covid-19 and other health concerns, but hotels must provide the safest environment for guests. possible. With the risk of Covid-19 as a whole and other health risks associated with poor IAQ, now is the time for hotels to act.
Dr. Tyler Orehek is the President of Airgle Corp, North America, a global leader in the air purification industry. Beginning his professional career in 2003, Dr. Orehek owned and operated a multidisciplinary practice in midtown Manhattan and served as a primary care physician and entry-level health care practitioner. Dr. Orehek has been an Indoor Air Quality Specialist since 2007. He is also a Council Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC), awarded by the Board of Directors of the American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC).
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