Do offices need better air filtration to stop virus spread?

Air filtration needs to improve in enclosed spaces like offices and restaurants.
Air filtration needs to improve in enclosed spaces like offices and restaurants.

Commercial property owners are being urged to look into air filtration systems that can keep workers safe from coronavirus and other illnesses into the future.

Property and business owners are being urged to install improved air cleaning technology into office buildings, factories and aged-care centres.

Dr Michael Seitz told the Herald Sun his company, BlueSky Global, had created SmartBox technology that was used to filter air in pop-up coronavirus hospitals in New York.

He wants to bring the technology to Australia.

“We’re looking for a company that wants to get in on the fight against coronavirus, and can manufacture this technology in Australia so it can be rapidly deployed,” Dr Seitz said.

“Social distancing and masks are all important, but they don’t solve problems where people are moving around an indoor space for an extended period of time.”

Better filtration was needed in offices, restaurants, call centres and communal areas of aged-care homes, he said.

Many of these buildings have been the site of coronavirus outbreaks in Victoria.

Previously installed cleaning filters, usually part of air conditioners, did not have enough power to push infected “aerosols” out of a room, he said.

The SmartBox technology was adapted from high-powered machines used at mining sites when coronavirus first reared its head.

It pushes air particles in a downward motion, where they are sucked out of the room for cleaning at floor level.

But Dr Seitz said companies were unwilling to invest in the air-cleaning technology.

“It’s about $100,000 for everything including the piping and ducting, which is a big investment,” Dr Seitz said.

“But if you think about it in terms of what companies spend on cars or trucks, they make that kind of investment quite regularly.”

The systems are tipped to become more popular in the future as people become more health-conscious after the pandemic.

It can also help prevent the spread of influenza, environmental allergies and general colds in enclosed environments.

This article from the Herald Sun originally appeared as “Better air filtration needed for offices to help prevent illness”.