Shopping centres with clean air label are guaranteed to conform to highest ventilation requirements
Estonia’s largest shopping centres are investing in ventilation equipment to ensure highest air quality and contribute to excellent air change rate.
Estonian Traders’ Association in cooperation with the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (CPTRA) have developed the label “We Have Clean Air” to spotlight the shopping centres that have made significant investments in improved air quality, demonstrating care for the health of their customers and employees who spend long hours in the building.
The shopping centres of Viru Keskus, Kristiine, Ülemiste, Rocca al Mare, Mustamäe, Viimsi, Astri, Fama and Pärnu, as well as Tartu Kaubamaja and Lõunakeskus, are entitled to display the clean air label.
The certified shopping centres monitor their air quality in real time. Air purity is measured continually in hundreds of points across the centre by technology developed for this purpose, which reacts immediately when CO2 level rises above the recommended threshold in any of the points. Consequently, the air in the shopping centres with the clean air label is almost as fresh and clean as outdoors.
Members of the Estonian Traders’ Association have a positive track record in identifying proactive solutions to prevent the spread of Covid. In the past two years, the Association has made several voluntary commitments, such as inspection of mask-wearing in shops or redirecting sales campaigns into online channels. Now, in preparation for the autumn and winter indoor season, the focus shifts to the importance of ventilation. “With regard to air quality, we had close cooperation with CPTRA that assisted the shopping centres with validation that their ventilation equipment and settings meet the highest national requirements and recommendations. The equipment itself was developed in cooperation with TalTech researchers. We would like to invite other establishments and industries to ensure efficient indoor ventilation, thereby safeguarding the health of both customers and employees,” said Nele Peil, Managing Director of the Traders’ Association.
Professor Jarek Kurnitski from TalTech has repeatedly called attention to the ability of proper ventilation to prevent the spread of both the Covid infection and common cold, emphasising that the risk of getting infected can be up to five times lower in indoor spaces with good ventilation compared to poorly ventilated rooms. However, the issue of indoor air quality became particularly relevant as a result of the pandemic. “I would like to recognise the shopping centres for showing initiative, because efficient ventilation is particularly important in crowded spaces. Hopefully, the contribution of shopping centres can serve as a model for refurbishing ventilation in schools,” Kurnitski said.
Soon after the onset of the pandemic, the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority drafted guidelines for setting up technological systems in public buildings with the view of preventing the spread of the virus as much as possible and has also made random spot checks of conformity to those requirements. “A higher level of virus risk requires an increased supply of outdoor air. For shopping centres, this has now been certified with the clean air label,” stated Kristi Talving, Director General of the CPTRA. “Hopefully, this pilot project will lead to good practices in indoor climate monitoring and energy savings, which would be applicable in other industries and building types,” Talving added.
The clean air label is protected by copyright and belongs to the Estonian Traders’ Association. The Management Board of the Association can grant the right to use the label to companies that have submitted a respective application and have received written confirmation that their ventilation meets the excellent air change requirements specified by the CPTRA
The building of the Viru Keskus is operated in a sustainable manner, using advanced technology, as demonstrated by the fact that Viru Keskus is the only shopping centre in the Baltics with a LEED Platinum certificate, the highest rank of the international certificate that is issued to buildings designed, constructed and used according to the principles of environmentalism and sustainable development.
The goal of maintaining a high level of air quality in the Viru Keskus is supported by R8, an AI-based building management software, the adoption of which in shopping centres was pioneered in the world by the Viru Keskus. We have hundreds of sensors in our centre, measuring air quality and other parameters to adjust the performance of heating, cooling and other systems, taking also into account the price of inputs. As an additional measure, UV equipment has been installed in the ventilation systems of the centre to help eliminate viruses from the circulating air.