Focus must be on occupants as opposed to just occupied spaces

Sarfraz Dairkee, MEP and HVAC, Covid19, Lockdown, EmiratesGBC
ITP Media Group

Sarfraz Dairkee is an authority on clean air, and he’s been watching the Covid-19 pandemic with a critical eye.

Notably, he has been assessing the way in which HVAC systems could be used as a preventative measure in future virus outbreaks.


Speaking to MEP Middle East, the LEED accredited professional, certified energy manager, certified building commissioning professional, and qualified trainer for pumping system optimization shared his views on what role the sector will play in the coming months.

How critical will HVAC solutions be to giving people peace of mind about coming back into places of work after the Covid-19 lockdown?

Incredibly significant changes in lifestyle are expected after the Covid-19 lockdown is fully lifted.

The most crucial challenge will be containing the damaging effects created by the virus, and making it ineffective to the human being. 

Physical distancing and heightened levels of  hygiene are just some of the means in place for containment. However, HVAC systems could be crucial to ensure proper ventilation is able to curtail the future spread (if the disease was airborne).

This can be achieved with prompt, economical refurbishments and re-engineered solutions for indoor environmental air quality in the built environment.       

Do you this the pandemic will lead people to think more critically about the air they breath, and lead to a greater and more vocal demand for better solutions? 

Breathing clean air and ventilation are the most likely and demanding link to contain and control the spread of viruses such as Covid-19.

This scenario should lead to us thinking more critically and with more attention to the occupants of a building – rather than the occupied space.
On the back of this pandemic, the project goals for HVAC systems – developers and suppliers – will be required to be further sharpened to the occupants from the broader target of just occupied spaces.

This would in turn demand broader and  better understanding of physiology and microbiology, and the awareness of this would lead to focussed and optimum solutions tailored to the specific requirements.

Will this lead to a change in legislation in building codes? If so what would they look like?

Of course, the building codes would have to be revised and further updated to incorporate the measures that ensure controlling the spread of potential viruses.

Diversity often brings opportunity. What opportunity do you see for the promotion of green buildings and sustainable solutions as a result of this pandemic?

I agree with you that this current adversity is sort of a wake-up call to get out of the slumber of the status quo.

There is significant HVAC knowledge and expertise available to us that has been left dormant, awaiting industry attention that just may now get on the day-to-day agenda.

ASHRAE Standard 55 for Thermal Comfort, Radiant Cooling, Alternative Moisture Humidity Control is just one example for better indoor environment quality with a low ecological footprint.       

We need to sharpen the focus – HVAC needs to be targeting occupants rather than occupied spaces.

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