The effect of a mobile HEPA filter system on 'infectious' aerosols, sound and air velocity in the SenseLab

Build Environ. 2021 Jan 15;188:107475. doi: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2020.107475. Epub 2020 Dec 3.


High efficiency air filtration has been suggested to reduce airborne transmission of 'infectious' aerosols. In this study the 'air cleaning' effect as well as the effect on sound and air velocity (draught risk) of a mobile High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter system was tested for different settings and positions in the Experience room of the SenseLab. From both the noise assessments by a panel of subjects and sound monitoring it was concluded that the mobile HEPA filter system causes an unacceptable background sound level in the tested classroom setting (Experience room). With respect to the air velocity measurements and draught rating calculations, it was concluded that both depend on the position and the setting of the HEPA filter system as well as on the position and height of the measurements. For the removal of aerosols simulated by air-filled soap bubbles in front of the subject, the mobile HEPA filter system performed better as compared to the 'No ventilation' regime, for all settings and both positions, and for some settings, even better than all the tested mixing ventilation regimes. The use of a mobile HEPA filter system seems a good additional measure when only natural ventilation options are available. Future research should focus on rooms of different sizes or shapes, as this may also play a role in the filter's performance, noise and draught effects.

Keywords: Aerosols; Airborne transmission; HEPA filters; SARS-CoV-2; Ventilation.