The Impact of COVID-19 on heating commercial buildings.
Guidance from the World Health Organisation* and from the Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations (REHVA)** recommends that workplaces are well ventilated with fresh outside air to reduce the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19. In buildings without mechanical ventilation systems this guidance recommends opening windows where possible, even when this causes thermal discomfort.
Matthew Dodds, Director of Herschel’s Commercial Division commented “As we ease out of lockdown, those responsible for offices, schools, shops, sport premises, restaurants and any buildings where the public gather will need to carefully consider the risk of the Coronavirus spreading via the air and encourage or insist on the opening of windows in buildings without a mechanical ventilation system.
On warm summer days this is unlikely to be an issue but on colder days and as we head into autumn and winter this is going to be a significant issue for our comfort.”
Infrared (radiant) heating is the only viable way of keeping people warm in buildings where open windows are the only form of ventilation because Herschel heaters directly warm people, the room and its contents without first heating the air. In contrast, any convection based heating will be highly ineffective at keeping people warm because the hot air produced from the heater will escape through the open windows, leaving people and the room cold. It is why convection heating cannot be used for heating people outdoors.
There is a potential added benefit that because the Herschel heaters directly warm the surfaces in the room, if the coronavirus is present on a surface it is unlikely to survive as long as it would on a colder surface (studies have shown that Covid-19 dies off quicker as temperature increases).
Having windows open is going to result in much higher energy consumption for heating and goes against environmental aims of minimising energy usage. Our thermostat controls all have “open window detection” as part of Eco Design Energy Saving Regulations. Users will need to temporarily disable this feature when our heaters are used with our controls and they intend to run our heating and have windows open.