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Covid ventilation measures

We’re having many conversations with community groups as we match them to engineers, and some of them have raised an issue to do with Covid. They know that more ventilation means more heat loss, and that draughts make people much less comfortable. They don’t want to risk anyone’s health, so they are asking what the best practice for ventilation is.

If you are a church, please keep in mind that your hierarchy may require compliance with specific guidance they have issued to you. It’s understandable that this guidance will vary – what we know about the science changed rapidly, especially early in the pandemic. So has the level of vulnerability in some (but not all!) of the population.

We don’t have all the answers about this, but we can point to a solid source of information – what the Health and Safety Executive recommends for workplaces:

Some community buildings have purchased CO2 monitors so that they can assess how much ventilation they require in their spaces and advise their building users about how to use the building to achieve that. Since it can take multiple monitors for larger spaces, it would make sense to pool together with other local buildings and pass the monitors around. Some buildings have also undertaken remedial work, for instance, to make sure it is easy to open and close windows.

For the more technical, policy-oriented reader, there is also the Royal Academy of Engineering’s assessment of what we should do as a nation for more resilient infection control:

This doesn’t help immediately, but gives some sense of where we might be headed in the future.

image (c) Kevstan, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; our cropping

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