GDS Workshop: Covid-19, ventilation norms & measuring CO2
Our SIG Principles by design (Governing the Digital Society) organises a workshop in collaboration with Creative Coding Utrecht. It seeks to spark discussion on Covid, ventilation norms and CO2 measurement by bringing together practice and critical thinking.
It is increasingly acknowledged that Covid-19 spreads through aerosols and that good ventilation is an important measure in mitigating transmission risk (see opinion piece by Zeynep Tufecki on the slow adaptation of this fact and its implications). In the Netherlands it was only after pressure from o.a. opposition parties (e.g. Wilders (PVV) and Westerveld(GroenLinks)) and an open letter by 20 scientists that outgoing prime minister Mark Rutte introduced ventilation as a covid measure on 19 July 2021. The RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and Environment) then formulated a ventilation policy based on existing legal requirements from the Dutch Building Decree (Bouwbesluit 2012).
Returning to in person teaching at Utrecht University faculty and students have been assured that the ventilation in our scheduled classrooms is up to these requirements. However, this regulation -primarily targeting odor nuisance- merely guarantees people won't get sick in a building under ‘normal’ conditions. Experts see it not only as an absolute minimum, but emphasize that it was never about preventing infections like covid. By contrast, in Belgium ventilation has been an important part of their covid policy since summer 2020 and ventilation monitors are mandatory in places such as cafes, gyms, hairdressers etc. These monitors measure CO2 levels serving as transmission risk proxies.
Ventilation norms and CO2 measurement
This 2.5 hour workshop is organized by Tim de Winkel and Karin van Es of the SIG Principles by design (Governing the Digital Society) in collaboration with Creative Coding Utrecht. It seeks to spark discussion on Covid, ventilation norms and CO2 measurement by bringing together practice and critical thinking. During the workshop we reflect on ventilation norms and CO2 measurement (through collective reading and viewing distributed a week beforehand). More concretely we explore the ventilation norms in the Netherlands re Covid, the arbitrary nature of thresholds, why measuring CO2 might be useful (or not) and whether CO2 levels are a useful proxy for good ventilation and transmission risks. Additionally, we build a CO2 measuring device with Arduino and learn how to extract data from it, considering also the reliability of sensors and good data measuring practice.
Participation is free but we ask that you contribute to the blog of the Focus Area Governing the Digital Society. The workshop is open to all students and staff of UU. Due to social distancing and other measures there is a cap of 14 participants.