More solutions for improving indoor air quality in Singapore healthcare facilities

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In part 1 of this 2-part blog, I discussed the importance of indoor air quality for healthcare facilities in Singapore. Hospitals and polyclinics need good air quality and ventilation to help ensure the safety of staff, patients, and visitors. We also looked at how ultraviolet (UV-C) light can be used to sterilize duct-type fan coils and air handling units to help stop bacteria, viruses, molds, and other pathogens from getting into the air supply.

In this post, I will introduce some other important solutions for keeping indoor air quality cleaner and safer. One of the advantages of these solutions is that they do not require any of the precautions that UV treatment requires.

air quality

Antimicrobial coating – cleaner coils with longer lifespan

The cooling coils in AC units can become fouled with dust and dirt, which can also cause mold, fungus, and bacteria to grow and be passed into the distributed air. An antimicrobial coating can be added to cooling coils. It not only has anti-fungal/anti-bacterial properties, but it is also water repellent (or ‘hydrophilic’), which helps prevent fouling of the coils. This keeps air cleaner while enhancing coil maintainability and prolonging life span.  These self-cleaning properties kill – or slows the spread – of microorganisms. Daikin’s antimicrobial treatment is ozone-free, non-flammable, and water-based. The treatment also provides a superior corrosion protection feature.

Streamer technology – helping filters and tanks stay clean

Daikin air purifiers make use of patented ‘Streamer’ technology, which is a type of plasma discharge that generates high-speed electrons. This high-oxidative decomposition power has a wide three-dimensional range, continuously decomposing odors, bacteria, viruses, allergens, and indoor pollutants (such as formaldehyde) absorbed into the machines. As such, the cleanliness of filters and water tanks can be maintained, preventing mold and bacterial growth in the machines, and reducing the frequency of filter replacement.

Bipolar ionization – using ions to sterilize the air

Some air purification systems use high-voltage electrodes to produce positive and negative ions, designed to attract and attach to particles of viruses and bacteria in the air. Manufacturers claim that this process either deactivates the particles or weighs them down, causing them to fall to the floor. They also claim that the process produces no ozone so is safe for indoor use.

Managing ventilation with indoor air quality monitoring and control

Facilities management teams must monitor indoor air quality in healthcare premises. This reassures staff, patients, and visitors that the environment is safe. However, it also offers the opportunity to automate ventilation control.

IAQ sensors are used to detect all common air quality parameters. There are wired and wireless options for sensors. Wireless solutions are preferred because there is no need to route cables. It is also preferable to have monitoring devices that provide instant readings as well as data recording. In addition, connectivity will allow IAQ to be tracked on a central dashboard.

To get the most from IAQ monitoring, the solution should be integrated with and monitored by an automation control system. In Singapore, the SS 554 standard code of practice refers to IAQ in air-conditioned buildings. IAQ parameters that deviate from the recommended levels should trigger a response from the building management system (BMS) to make adjustments as necessary to the airflow in each part of the facility.

For example, with the IAQ system monitoring carbon dioxide in a crowded meeting room, the BMS can be configured to automatically increase airflow, resulting in fresher air for occupants.

Air sterilization will always be important in healthcare premises, where the overall environment needs to be constantly kept clean and hygienic. However, with the greater emphasis now on healthy buildings, IAQ monitoring and sterilization may become the standard for all types of facilities. We may see scenarios in which IAQ monitoring detects a certain area is infected, causing instant isolation or lockdown of the area, with immediate IAQ sterilization carried out. We might even imagine visitors being tested and sterilized of bacteria and viruses before entering.

Improving air quality, energy, and building performance

As noted in my last post, as a certified Schneider Electric EcoXpert partner, Daikin has helped deliver integrated IAQ, energy management, and building management solutions to many local hospitals and clinics. Another example is Polyclinic in Kallang. This location uses an EcoStruxure Building Operation BMS that uses IAQ sensors and control of M&E services to improve ventilation, maximizing fresh air intake, or purging air to reduce air recirculation within the waiting areas.

Schneider Electric’s open, end-to-end, IoT-enabled EcoStruxure solutions are fast to implement and adaptable to any healthcare environment. They give facility teams greater visibility and insights to power and building conditions, automate and improve performance, and help ensure patient safety and comfort.

To learn more about air quality solutions

Daikin – including our subsidiary BMS Engineering – is a total building lifecycle solution provider and leading system integrator for BMS, facilities management, energy efficiency, and IAQ solutions in the Singapore region. To learn more, visit the Daikin Singapore website.

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