The 5th of #SCAIMondays conducted on May 25 by the Shopping Centres Association of India 2020, focused on making both the Government as well as the Shopping Centre Industry understand the myths surrounding high-tech airconditioning systems in malls and other closed environments. The agenda was to analyse the factors associated with the topic so that the myth and fallacies surrounded around air-conditioning, as a medium of the spread of COVID-19 can be busted.
“The subject of air-conditioning in the context of allowing shopping centres to open has been a point of concern for policymakers. Presentations to all concerned authorities have been made by SCAI, as airconditioning is a key component not only for the entire retail and shopping centre industry but also for consumers at large that find malls as safe places to visit. Implementation of stringent Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) prepared by SCAI assures all possible measures to provide a safe and hygienic environment, social distancing and safe airconditioning. If offices are allowed to function and in some stated with full strength, if AC buses and trains are allowed to ply and if from May 25, domestic aviation is being allowed to operate, why are shopping centres still not being allowed to open?” asked Amitabh Taneja, Chairman, SCAI.
The session was moderated by Mukesh Kumar, CEO, Infiniti Malls and the experts present in the panel were:
- Aneesh Kadyan, Executive Director - Property Management - India, CBRE South Asia
- Ashish Verma, Head of Engineering, Inorbit Malls
- Richie Mittal, National President, Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE)
- Vishal Kapur, Technical Committee Chair & Presidential Member, ISHRAE
Mukesh Kumar introduced the panel which was high on experience and technicality an also discussed the rumours, debates, and theories associated with air-conditioning playing a negative role in a closed and open environment, leading to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“ISHRAE has confirmed that the virus doesn’t spread through air. Mall air conditioning is very safe to operate. As a matter of fact, not operating air conditioning can have adverse effect on the health of visitors and employees. ISHRAE has advised malls to increase the intake of fresh air and operate the exhaust few hours longer than the mall operating hours. Ideal temperature to maintain would be 24-30 degree centigrade. All these advises have been incorporated in the mall SOP,” said Kumar.
He also mentioned key criteria, as part of SCAI SOPs in preparedness of opening of malls:
- Dedicated technical team to monitor and implement airconditioning measures
- Replace or clean/disinfect HVAC Air-filters prior to re-opening
- Disinfection and cleaning of Filters, grilles, diffusers & internal surfaces
- Disinfection/treatment of condensate drain pan
- Coil cleaning and sanitisation as per protocol
- AHU’s / CSU’s filter cleaning will be increased & dilution of some disinfection chemical can be used in water to wash filters.
Are Centralized ACs in Malls Safe for Visitors?
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