In the Philippines, there is tech that allows safer workplace practices during this era of COVID.
By: Vanni de Sequera
As the general population ages, fewer and fewer persons remember a time when asbestos lined the roofs of homes (even offices) and second-hand tobacco smoke was deemed acceptable inside airplanes and shopping malls. Good riddance, because back then indoor air-quality was considered as unimportant as seatbelts.
Then, decades ago, heroic consumer activists compelled government regulators to regard health and safety over corporate profit, and the tide change slowly turned in favor of citizen welfare over big business.
By the 1990s, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)—a green building certification program now used worldwide—showed building owners how to be more environmentally responsible, and sustainability finally became more than a mere buzzword. But then, in 2020, the entire world spun out of its formerly comfortable axis.
A new variable in the equation
SARS‑CoV‑2, the virus that leads to Covid-19 the disease, perhaps forever altered the equation of what constitutes a safe space. Whereas energy conservation and basic indoor-environment quality were once the accepted parameters of an edifice’s design excellence and livability index, now a lethal variable had to be contended with.
To ignore this new respiratory virus could mean mild to moderate to severe sickness—or, ultimately, even worse—for residents and employees that lived and worked in properties once considered safe havens.
Businesses that were allowed to remain open during unprecedented lockdowns scrambled to institute masking and social-distancing policies within their offices. Along with hand-washing mandates and disinfection measures, these were the frontline soldiers that were first deployed to battle.
Over a year into the pandemic, however, much more has been learned to combat SARS‑CoV‑2. Aerosols, and not just the larger respiratory droplets that were once thought to be the only culprits, are increasingly becoming identified by scientists as a transmission driver that needs to be urgently addressed. Buildings, this new matrix suggests, play a huge role in disease prevention and control.
Monitor, purify, and manage with tech
Clearly, better ventilation is key to dispersing viruses.
Cracking open a window, even if just for a couple of inches, might replicate the well-documented anti-infection benefits of being outdoors. There is, however, a way to be even more proactive… by monitoring indoor-air quality with the best technology available. In the Philippines, this technology has already arrived –
Plug-and-play, scalable, WiFi-based devices can monitor temperature, humidity, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, volatile organic compounds, and air-pressure levels.
Another sensor-driven monitoring function, however, is a game-changer—a virus-index indicator that allows enterprises to decide (with the help of proprietary software that easily translates into a workable management system even over multiple properties) whether or not an indoor space heightens or hampers the survival of potentially life-threatening viruses.
Now in the Philippines, these monitoring devices and specifically designed software dashboards can even join forces with ultramodern air filters and purifiers that are also WiFi-enabled to sweep up air impurities.