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Indoor Air Quality in hospitals

01/09/2022 Yves Vinck

Why is air quality in hospitals so important? A hospital is a place where both weak and healthy people come into close contact with each other. In Corona times, that is a frightening scenario that requires many precautions to make this possible in safe conditions. Monitoring indoor air quality is one of these precautions.

Indoor Air Quality in hospitals
Reduce social contacts
The Corona crisis had a major impact and has fundamentally changed our environment. In a very short space of time we had to adjust our habits and deny ourselves all possible forms of social contacts. Both privately and professionally. The term 'teleworking' quickly became established. Teleworking will become the new norm in many sectors. However, in some sectors this is less evident. In hospitals, for example, it is essential that medical staff with different competences consult to determine the best approach for a specific patient. A meeting in a small, closed room with caregivers who just came from the Corona department might raise some concerns.
To measure is to know
Frequent testing of all employees gives a reassuring feeling, but a positive test result might cause high stress levels. These checks are essential to detect a contamination in an early stage and to be able to take the necessary measures (quarantine) in time to prevent things from getting worse. However, the hospital az Sint-Blasius in Dendermonde wanted to go one step further and also take proactive measures. Where is the risk of infection with the COVID-19 virus the highest? By monitoring and logging indoor air quality in places where many people from different departments frequently meet, they want to estimate the risk of contamination.
Monitor indoor air quality via mobile units
Budget is often an issue, so choices must be made. The hospital did not want to make any concessions in terms of quality. That is why it was decided to work with a reliable European manufacturer such as Sentera. The management decided to make mobile setups of CO2 sensors with display and connect them to the cloud via the Wi-Fi network. Thanks to the Wi-Fi connection, the units are easy to move. Only a power socket is required to get them operational. This solution also offers the possibility to remotely view the measured values and to create graphs. In addition to CO2, temperature, relative humidity and ambient light level are also measured. All measurements are stored in SenteraWeb – the online HVAC portal. The mobile measuring installations are currently deployed in various departments for a period of at least one week.
Targeted actions to improve air quality
These mobile measurements make it clear which locations pose the greatest risks of COVID-19 contamination and where permanent solutions are required. This insight into the evolution of the air quality at various locations in the hospital made it possible to further optimise the current measures and to create a safer working environment for the medical staff. The measures vary from minor adjustments to the ventilation system to limiting the number of people in certain rooms. Meeting rooms were estimated to be locations with a high risk for COVID-19 contamination. That is which why these rooms are now permanently monitored with CO2 sensors. Undoubtedly, many companies can take an example from this approach. Even with a limited budget, it is possible to identify the highest risks and optimise indoor air quality through targeted actions.
Stand-alone CO2 sensor or IAQ monitoring system?
Thanks to the modular concept of the Sentera product range, it is possible to start with a stand-alone CO2 sensor with visual LED indication. Afterwards, the different CO2 sensors can be linked in a network via Modbus RTU communication. Optionally, a display can be added to visualise the measured values. All devices can be linked to SenteraWeb - the online HVAC platform - via an optional internet gateway. This makes data logging, remote monitoring and remote control possible. The Sentera product range offers solutions ranging from a simple CO2 sensor to a complete, cloud connected system to monitor indoor air quality in your building.
Who is Sentera?
Sentera is one of the leading manufacturers of control solutions for HVAC and ventilation systems. It is their mission to make intelligent HVAC control solutions that are easy to use! They develop, manufacture and promote fan speed controllers, HVAC sensors, HVAC controllers and actuator powered dampers to control air flows and to monitor indoor air quality. Today, the Sentera group counts 8 companies and 150 employees which are based in 4 different locations. Headquarters and the central warehouse are based in Temse, Belgium. Sentera is a 100 % family owned group of companies. For more information, contact Sentera!
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