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Kitchens produce the highest level of hazardous pollutants

The importance of proper kitchen ventilation strategies for good IAQ cannot be overemphasised, say UAE-based experts

| | May 17, 2017 | 2:31 pm
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According to statistics provided by the World Health Organisation, approximately four million deaths every year are attributed to poor indoor air quality (IAQ). Experts point out that kitchens produce the highest level of hazardous pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide; therefore, the hospitality industry must pay special attention to the IAQ in kitchens.

By way of offering strategies to enhance IAQ in kitchens, Chithrananda De Alvis, Regional Director of Engineering at The H Hotel, said: “Right from the design stage, it is imperative to consider the discharge of air filtered through proper filtration systems, to remove pollutants and odours, and prevent the same air from returning to the kitchen as makeup air. A kitchen ventilation system must be carefully designed to provide good control of moisture, heat, grease and odours, and no compromise must be made to reduce costs.” De Alvis also pointed out that hotels must sign up a professional and certified company to regularly clean kitchen hoods and ducts.

Suggesting similar strategies, Liju Thomas Eapen, President-Elect of the ASHRAE Falcon Chapter and Managing Director of Al Arif Décor & AC, said: “The use of high-efficiency hoods, correct sizing of hoods and balancing of fresh air and extract systems are the basics to improve a kitchen environment. Maintenance is the most critical factor, once you have started the kitchen operation, because lack of maintenance will jeopardise the design and investment.” Elaborating further, Eapen said: “Hotels can consider investing in technologies such as UV hoods, high-efficiency electrostatic precipitators, high-efficiency filters, odour neutralisers, ozone generators and ionizers.” He cautioned that an open discharge of kitchen exhaust without any treatment is hazardous and damaging to the environment.

On the efforts by the hospitality towards improving IAQ in kitchens, De Alvis said that in his experience, he has observed that only certain countries are very strict on IAQ standards in kitchens. The authorities there, he added, conduct regular air quality checks to ensure compliance. “In my opinion, it is up to us in this region to set up our own standards, as per ASHRAE or any other building code, to make sure we have good control towards improving or maintaining required standards,” De Alvis said. “It is also important to have a well-designed mechanical system, with a set of established maintenance procedures.”

On the challenges faced by kitchen workers in relation to IAQ of kitchens, Eapen said, “Hygiene will always be of prime concern for the employees, and excessive humidity and smoke will affect the health and efficiency of the workers.”

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