Covid19, buildings and Energy Efficiency
How can we reconcile health with Energy Efficiency?
There is still much debate about the causes of infection in buildings. The European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC) writes in “Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems in the context of COVID-19” that transmission commonly occurs in closed spaces and HVAC systems may help decrease transmission, but that’s only one way. There are 4 ways to do it:
1. Limit the sources of the virus
2. Combine HVAC and naturally ventilation
3. Limiting access
4. Masks, hand washing and distance
How about Energy Efficiency? My opinion is that HVAC is only one of the factors. Just increasing the ventilation rate is not enough and will increase consumption (carbonlighthouse.com). Well visible CO2 meters (proposed in some countries (www.maurice.nl) make much sense and will give prove of fresh air (they were already last year on Pisa airport, in Italy). If more fresh air is indeed wished, Heat Recovery MUST be seriously (re)considered, so that outside air must not be cooled or heated with 100% “new” energy. Important is, like in many other Energy Efficiency measures, the combination of technology and behaviour.