Fresh air for the hospitality industry

December 2020

Air quality and ventilation in the hospitality industry are indispensable concepts nowadays.

The hotel and catering sector is undoubtedly one of the economic sectors hardest hit by the effects of the pandemic. The reduction in capacity first and then the stoppage of activity in some autonomous communities has put the economic solvency of many of these businesses on the ropes.

Faced with the partial and progressive opening of the hotel and catering industry (depending on the autonomous communities) and the increase in traffic due to the Christmas season, the managers of establishments are once again considering the safety protocols and the quality of the air in their premises.

Capacity has changed

Many of these premises had a specific capacity, generally established by the Fire Department of each city. In general, the Technical Building Code (CTE) determines in its Basic Document "Safety in case of fire", Section SI3 - Fire Safety, the surface area for each occupant according to the activity and use of the premises (Section EVACUATION OF OCCUPANTS). For example, in the dining room of a restaurant, 1.5 m2/person is established.

Of course, this value changed as soon as the anti-COVID measures protocol set a table distance of 2 m and a distance between diners of 1.5 m. In this new context, restaurants have been forced to redesign the layout of the tables in the dining room with the classical floor markings and a considerable reduction of the permitted capacity.

So what is the air quality I can guarantee in my premises?

- Ventilation according to regulations:
The reference legislation is the RITE (Reglamento de Instalaciones Térmicas en los Edificios), which establishes a series of minimum requirements for indoor air quality in the non-residential sector.

Four categories of air quality or IDA (InDoor Air) are established, from IDA-1 (optimum quality) to IDA-4 (low quality).

Commercial buildings, cinemas, theaters, assembly halls, hotel rooms and similar, restaurants, cafeterias, bars, night clubs, gymnasiums, sports facilities (except swimming pools) and computer rooms, are subject to category IDA-3, which implies having a minimum ventilation flow rate of 8 l/s and person, or maintaining a maximum CO₂ concentration below 800 ppm, added to the outdoor CO₂ concentration; i.e. 1200 ppm.

Air renewal per person has always been a requirement for an adequate indoor environment. Today, increased ventilation is needed so that this CO₂ concentration remains below 1000 ppm.

The casuistry in the hospitality world is very varied, due, on the one hand, to the regulations in force in the year of construction, the application of specific municipal ordinances and even the anti-smoking measures established for terraces and exteriors.

Therefore, if we add the change of capacity and the new measures implemented in this pandemic context, the question is: What is the situation of my venue?

- Estimation of the ventilation flow rate:
For this reason, inBiot has created a simple tool to answer the following questions:

1. What will be the CO₂ concentration in the room under the new conditions?

Air quality and ventilation in the hospitality industry

2. What is the flow rate of ventilation air that I must guarantee?

First of all, the usable area, the height of the premises and the permitted capacity according to the current requirements are completed.

Air quality and ventilation in the hotel and catering industry 2

The maximum ventilation flow rate is then established according to the systems installed in the room. In our previous post we gave some references to estimate the ventilation flow rate of a space.

Air quality and ventilation in the hospitality industry 3

And finally, the CO₂ concentration level to be achieved in the interior space is determined, as we saw above.

From this data we obtain the required ventilation air flow rate.

You can download and use this tool for free at the following link: inBiot Hospitality Excel

With this information it is possible to assess the degree of ventilation and the suitability to ensure a healthy space. However, it is important to complement it with the actual situation in each establishment, where conditions of use and ventilation are dynamic throughout the day.

In some autonomous communities, as is the case in Navarra, premises have been asked to map their ventilation. For this, it is more than interesting to have clear and measurable indicators of its operation and efficiency. Because data converted into information is a key tool to analyze the operation of the premises and work to ensure the safety of users and workers. The measurement of CO₂ is basic, but the agile and simple interpretation of the data is necessary to act accordingly.

That's where inBiot comes in. Can we help you?

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