At Nexus, we pride ourselves on being the safest gym in the area. The health measures of increased physical distancing, schedule changes, cleaning, limiting class sizes, and masks worn in common spaces have worked to ensure that no one has contracted the virus at our gym.
As part of our dedication to our members’ health and safety, we recently took another step to protect our staff and members: we installed a carbon dioxide monitor.
The Case for CO2 Monitoring
We chose to purchase a monitor after learning that carbon dioxide levels can be used as a proxy for the potential of viral transmission.
We were first inspired by the story of a Virginia gym where a coach caught COVID and worked with 50 athletes. He didn’t pass the virus to any of them, largely due to increased air circulation in the gym.
Then, we stumbled across this article from Smart Buildings Magazine on the subject.
According to that article:
“Since the coronavirus is spread through the air, higher CO2 levels in a room likely mean there is a higher chance of transmission if an infected person is inside”, leading aerosol scientist Prof Shelly Miller writes in The Conversation. “Simply put, the more fresh, outside air inside a building, the better. Bringing in this air dilutes any contaminant in a building, whether a virus or a something else, and reduces the exposure of anyone inside.”
The German Federal Environment Agency has drawn up general guidelines for health assessment of carbon dioxide in indoor air, which includes advice regarding SARS-CoV-2 – advice that is also relevant to COVID-19. Accordingly, a concentration of <1000 ppm [parts per million] is hygienically harmless. The guideline classifies a concentration between 1000 and 2000 ppm as questionable and anything above it as unacceptable.
How We’re Using The Data
Based on what we have learned we are establishing two important thresholds. First, when the carbon dioxide levels reach 800ppm we will open the overhead door and turn the overhead fans on high. If the CO2 levels reach 1000ppm, we will open the rear door as well and turn on the drum fans.
In the last few weeks we have used the device, we have only had to open the main overhead door once classes are already warmed up and ready to move. We haven’t needed to open the rear door or use the drum fans to maintain adequate air circulation.
We will continue to learn more about using carbon dioxide as a proxy for COVID-19 transmission risk and will adapt our current best practices to keep our members and staff healthy.
Our goal is ZERO transmission at the gym. So far we have been able to achieve this. With our new data-driven decisions we are determined to maintain this status.