Universities – ensuring Indoor Air Quality makes the grade for the new academic year.

June 20, 2022 – 2 Min

At the height of the pandemic in 2020/21, UK universities suffered greatly as the virus spread rapidly through student populations. Covid restrictions curtailed student activities, with many reporting dissatisfaction with their academic and social experiences. The emphasis on online learning meant that the biggest risk of viral transmission was in halls of residence. Surveys revealed that two thirds of UK students suffered from mental health issues.

As universities start to plan for the Autumn term, Covid infections are increasing across the UK, the dominant strains being the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants. Indoor Air Quality is becoming a priority, as all universities want to avoid the turmoil of 2020/21 and return to a full face-to-face curriculum with in-person lectures and tutoring.

That’s why more than 30 British and Irish universities have turned to Rensair to plan and implement air purification strategies that meet two clear, interconnected objectives:

  1. Provide a clean indoor air environment to mitigate the risk of infection
  2. Limit and, in certain cases, reduce energy consumption

Rensair air purifiers provide infection control in hospitals on 3 continents, resulting in better patient outcomes across many departments, from A&E to X-ray. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Rensair has been leveraging its healthcare sector experience to build long term solutions for poorly ventilated spaces across business, central & local government, and education.

The timing of this university focus on Indoor Air Quality is opportune as the NEPC has just issued a report, commissioned by Sir Patrick Vallance, recommending a major upgrade to all indoor spaces to build infection resilient environments. The report’s key recommendations place important obligations on building owners and operators to meet newly defined standards, which will only be met by retrofits with improved ventilation and air cleaning/purification technologies.

Rensair – clean air consultations for universities

We are frequently provided with room by room data that comprises occupancy, room size and current ventilation rates. For example, a recent enquiry provided a list of 66 poorly ventilated indoor spaces – the below are the first five rooms :

From this data, we can immediately calculate each room’s ventilation gap and thus how much air purification is required to meet CIBSE and WHO ventilation guidelines. In the example above, Rensair gave the university a comprehensive plan within one working day, showing how many units would be required for each room to ensure that each had the correct amount of ventilation and purification to meet the IAQ standards and infection prevention strategies recommended by health authorities.

Cost benefits

Rensair’s portable hospital-grade air purifiers are a long term solution – the oldest unit has been running continuously for over 15 years. They are significantly cheaper than retrofitting or upgrading a mechanical ventilation system and consume a tiny fraction of the energy. With a very long filter time life – most universities will only have to change filters between 3 and 5 years, depending on Rensair model and use – maintenance cost is low and straightforward and safe to undertake.

Get in touch

To ensure that your higher education establishment is ready for a successful new academic year, talk to Rensair about Indoor Air Quality. We are always happy to offer advice, as well as a free consultation, taking into account floor plans, existing HVAC systems, occupancy rates and energy usage, before recommending a tailor-made solution for optimal Indoor Air Quality.

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