Effective ventilation and air disinfection system for reducing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection risk in office buildings

Shubham Srivastava, Xingwang Zhao, Ati Manay, Qingyan Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


During the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing amount of evidence has suggested that the virus can be transmitted through the air inside buildings. The ventilation system used to create the indoor environment would facilitate the transmission of the airborne infectious diseases. However, the existing ventilation systems in most buildings cannot supply sufficient clean outdoor air for diluting the virus concentration. To reduce the airborne infection risk and minimize energy consumption, especially in existing buildings with well-mixed ventilation systems, this investigation used an ultraviolet-C (UV-C) air disinfection device (Rheem's third generation products, RM3) with 99.9% disinfection efficiency to clean air carrying the COVID-19 virus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2) which could help promote environmental sustainability and create healthy cities. This investigation assessed the impact of the RM3 UV-C units on the infection risk, the number of RM3 UV-C units required, and the strategy for decreasing the infection risk, with the use of computational-fluid-dynamics (CFD) numerical simulations. An actual office building with a combination of individual offices and workstations was selected as an example for the research. According to the numerical results, the best strategy would be to use a combination of 100% outside air and UV-C in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) ducts with air disinfected by the RM3 UV-C units. The infection risk in the office building could thus be reduced to a negligible level. These findings could provide theoretical basis and engineering application basis for COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103408
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Airborne transmission
  • CFD
  • COVID-19
  • Indoor environment
  • Infection risk
  • Ultraviolet-C disinfection device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Transportation


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