Fighting COVID with Air Filters – Monterey Herald

PACIFIC GROVE – The era of clean air is upon us.

Air quality has never been as scrutinized as it was during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People have new expectations for the air they breathe,” said Bill Hayward, whose family has owned Hayward Lumber for over a century. “The truth is, we have had resources for 40 years to minimize viruses and particles that float in the air indoors.”

While cases of COVID-19 are on the decline in the United States, the virus remains a threat. It is transmitted through the air – often indoors where the air does not circulate as well or at all.

Hayward has become one of the biggest advocates for the use of air filters to fight disease. He became CEO of Hayward Lumber in 1983 and currently the company has lumber yards and design centers from Redwood City to Santa Barbara. But in recent years, Hayward has also focused on creating a safe indoor environment for families. While the devices to filter the air have been there, Hayward felt no one really paid attention to the damage unfiltered air could cause until the pandemic struck.

“It sounds like magic,” Hayward said. “But HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters have been around for decades. People are realizing the importance of indoor air. All of a sudden we pay attention to the air we breathe.

Hayward has been working since last June with Dr. Mark Hernandez, a 27-year infectious disease expert in Colorado, to help get people safely indoors in Monterey County with devices designed to purify the air. .

“People don’t change until there is an example in their backyard,” said Hayward. “I asked Dr Hernandez to come out last summer to do a demonstration. The lockdown prevented him from coming until January.

Hayward felt the CDC fell behind the best practices advocated by infectious disease experts and top environmental engineers, with whom he has worked with several in his own companies.

Three years ago, Hayward installed HEPA filtered air purifiers at its Hayward Lumber businesses, the first going to its Pacific Grove branch.

“We wanted to provide our employees with better air (protection) from the viruses and chemicals that filter through the air every day,” said Hayward. “We started to see better morale, more energy, less flus, fewer mistakes.”

When the pandemic began, Hayward began to work diligently with air quality experts to bring cleaner air best practices to the Central Coast to help reopen schools, restaurants and communities. domestic businesses.

“I’ve been focusing on healthy homes for 10 years,” said Hayward. “So I knew exactly who to call and take out here. We could have opened schools a long time ago. We knew it was an airborne virus.

In an effort to provide a safer environment for his employees in their own homes, Hayward went out and bought each employee a HEPA filter to help reduce the spread of the virus.

“Basically the essentials for purifying the air are fans, filters and monitors,” said Hayward. “People realize I can do it. We don’t have hot or freezing weather here. We can open the windows. “

Because Monterey County doesn’t have inclement weather, Hayward felt we could enjoy the clean ocean air outside. Even opening a window slightly in a house can help circulate the air and flow of particles.

“You can open a door and count on Mother Nature to help you control the air,” said Hayward. “By using the equipment instead, you minimize a lot of the problems – not just with viruses, but the potential for mold or mildew in the walls of your home or office.

Hayward sells energy recovery ventilators in its lumber stores, which can be aimed at larger venues such as restaurants, businesses, or even high school gyms.

It sells small units for homes and small offices, and larger units for areas designed specifically for classrooms, commercial buildings and public spaces.

The device removes moisture and humidity from the air entering the building. The energy wheel inside the fan allows incoming air to cool as it passes, exchanging the normally exhausted air.

“Indoor air doesn’t really mix,” said Hayward. “It’s hot upstairs, cold downstairs. If a virus is in the air, your head is there. This causes the air to mix with the air floating through the space, which reduces the risk. He exchanges air and walks into the room at 68 degrees. It evacuates moisture from the air. “

Devices in a classroom can run at low speed, so it’s not an interruption. Larger fans can cover a much larger space, such as a hotel or a high school gym.

Hayward helped install Stevie’s restaurant in Prunedale with HEPA filters, which cost around $ 300 per filter. The Monterey Art Museum also uses the systems.

“Remember that musty smell at the Monterey Museum of Art?” Hayward said. “Faded away.”

Hayward recently installed an energy ventilator at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, setting up the Exemplar with Hernandez, validating it with complex instruments, in which they also set up nine HEPA filters, allowing them to monitor the look closer.

“You can filter the air with the incoming outside air, or clean air through these systems,” said Hayward. “The systems have been implemented in several classrooms. You want to operate at low risk. You minimize the worry of any virus, not just COVID. Fans purify the air, they do not remove CO2. People who have them at home feel better and sleep better. “

Hayward sees these devices as long-term solutions to minimize all viruses, especially in the winter when the flu season typically warms up, reversing in his mind 100 years of institutions resisting the idea of ​​airborne transmission. with viruses.

“I don’t want to go into public spaces indoors and share the air with others if I don’t feel safe,” said Hayward. “This equipment increases fresh, clean air. The legacy benefit that we are heading after COVID will be the decreased circulation of viruses in the air. There are so many advantages to this.

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About Ethel Nester

Ethel Nester

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