Using panels kept cold by water circulating within them, B.C. researchers compared thermal comfort in 60 of the world’s most populous cities, including Toronto. (Lea Ruefenacht)

Using panels kept cold by water circulating within them, B.C. researchers compared thermal comfort in 60 of the world’s most populous cities, including Toronto. (Lea Ruefenacht)

B.C. researchers use ‘lean air conditioning’ to combat spread of COVID particles

Dr. Adam Rysanek and his team have proven a new worthwhile system – a mixture of cooling panels and natural ventilation

UBC researchers have partnered with those from Princeton and Pennsylvania universities to present households with an air conditioning method that minimizes COVID-19 spread.

Dr. Adam Rysanek’s study with Building Decisions Research Group outlines adequate ventilation and air refresh are needed in order to kill virus particulates suspended in the air.

Typical air conditioners require closed windows, but Rysanek and his team have proven a new worthwhile system – a mixture of cooling panels and natural ventilation.

“You can think of it as lean A/C or, even better, as a green alternative to energy-guzzling air conditioning,” Rysanek said.

Using wall and ceiling panels kept cold by water circulating in them, researchers compared thermal comfort in 60 of the world’s most populous cities including Toronto and New York.

There, peak summer temperatures can soar higher than 35 degrees Celsius.

READ MORE: Canada updates COVID-19 guidelines to include airborne transmission

The B.C. researchers found their alternative cooling system not only increased protection against disease but also used less energy.

“If we continue to rely on conventional HVAC systems to increase indoor fresh air rates, we may actually double energy consumption,” Rysanek said.

Results, published this month in the COVID-19 edition of Applied Energy, show HVAC systems use up to 45 per cent more energy than the “Cold Tube” researchers designed.

“Radiant cooling systems, which allow them to keep their windows open even when it’s hot outside, can increase protection against disease while lessening the impact on the environment.”

RELATED: Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

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