Health buildings can help stop Covid-19, increase worker productivity – News Couple
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Health buildings can help stop Covid-19, increase worker productivity


Any C-Wing executive looking to lure workers back into the office likely has spent more time thinking about indoor air quality and ventilation over the past year and a half than at any other time in their lives before the pandemic.

This is because health premises have become the latest temptation to bring employees back into the office. As people slowly return to personal work, they are naturally concerned about how safe they are. Companies continue to assure workers that desks, computer keyboards, elevator buttons, and every other public surface are adequately disinfected.

But now they are paying more attention to how healthy the air inside those buildings is – and the impact it could have on preventing not only the spread of Covid-19 and other respiratory diseases but how air quality can affect cognitive function.

Joseph J. said: Allen, associate professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of the Harvard Healthy Buildings Program at CNBC’s Workforce Executive Board Summit on Wednesday. “Greater ventilation leads to significantly better cognitive job performance for employees. It is good for workers’ health and productivity. ivermectin glass jar

“The Drop Doctrine Is Over”

Allen said the growing interest in indoor air quality stems from a better understanding of how Covid-19 spreads. Cleaning surfaces and complying with the six-foot distance rule made sense when the common belief was that the virus was spread through droplets released when coughing or sneezing and those droplets could not travel more than six feet.

The truth is that Covid-19 spreads through respiratory aerosols that travel beyond six feet, Allen said. “When we talk, cough, sneeze, or just breathe, we are constantly sending out respiratory droplets of varying sizes,” he added. “If we are infected, these particles carry the virus and can travel through any room and stay aloft for hours. The droplet nodule is over.”

A room or building that is not well ventilated means that these aerosols will build up and can infect a person beyond six feet. “All of the large outbreaks we’ve seen have the same characteristics,” Allen said. “Time indoors in a poorly ventilated space. It doesn’t matter if it’s class rehearsals, choir training, or the restaurant. It’s the same basic fundamentals that drive the transmission.”

Allen said companies can take action to counter this. “Just as we’ve made significant public health gains in terms of sanitation, water quality and food safety, indoor air quality will be part of this conversation going forward,” he said.

Employees wear protective masks at the JLL office in Menlo Park, California, US, on Tuesday, September 15, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

tuning buildings

The first step is for building managers to determine which systems are in place and whether they are working as they were designed to. “It sounds counterintuitive, but a lot of times we put the equipment in and then leave it on for 10 or 15 years and never adjust it like we do with our cars,” Allen explained.

Maximizing the amount of outside air entering the building is another step to take. Finally, Allen said the air filters should be upgraded to what’s called MERV 13. (MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value.) He explained that a typical building has a MERV 8 filter that captures about 20% of airborne particles. The MERV 13 filter will capture approximately 90% or more of those particles.

Not only will these high-quality filters improve air quality to help reduce the spread of viruses, they can also help workers improve their performance.

Allen’s team at Harvard University recently released a study looking at workers from around the world for a year. All of them had air quality sensors placed in their offices. A specially designed smartphone app enabled these workers to take brief cognitive function tests. Allen found that people with better air ventilation and lower levels of particulates performed better on these tests than people who worked in areas where air quality was worse.

“The beautiful thing about all of this is that healthy building strategies help protect against infectious disease, but are also good for worker health, productivity, and performance,” Allen said.

In his 2020 book, Healthy Buildings: How Interior Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity, co-written with John D. Business. His Harvard research and financial simulation found that the benefits of higher ventilation alone are estimated to be between $6,500 and $7,500 per person per year. In an April 2020 Harvard Business Review article co-authored with Macomber, Allen cites researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for estimating that improving indoor air quality in offices could add up to $20 billion annually to the United States economy.

“Since the late 1970s, in response to the global energy crisis, we’ve started to tighten buildings, and in the process we’ve cut off the air supply in an effort to conserve energy,” Allen said. ivermectin philippines price By doing so, we ushered in an era of sick construction.

“It is not surprising that we have high levels of indoor air pollution and sick buildings where people cannot concentrate in conference rooms and constantly feel sleepy at work,” he said.

And contrary to what many believe, it is not only new and modern buildings that can focus on health. “Any building can be a healthy building and it is not difficult to do and it is not very expensive,” he added. buy ivermectin pour on for chickens “In fact, I would argue that healthy buildings are not expensive. Sick buildings are expensive.”

To join CNBC’s Workforce Executive Board, apply at cnbccouncils.com/wec.



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