National industry award for Covid-19 air quality study

A study, which created the first ever guidance on how to design and operate non-domestic buildings to minimise the spread of airborne viruses, has beaten competition from across the country to scoop a prestigious award.

The AIRBODS project (Airborne Infection Reduction through Building Operation and Design for SARS-CoV-2) was funded by the government and helped to allow the resumption of large-scale events in the aftermath of the Covid-19 lockdowns.

The study, which involved researchers from the university’s Faculty of Engineering, won the Learning and Development Award at the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Building Performance Awards. The annual event recognises the people, products and projects that demonstrate engineering excellence in the built environment.

Ben Jones resized for web

Benjamin Jones, Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham, said: “There were times during the Covid-19 pandemic when many of us probably wondered whether we’d ever get back to the ‘normality’ in buildings and at large-scale events. This is why the importance of projects like AIRBODS can’t be underestimated – as the need to better understand the risks of airborne transmission of viruses in buildings has never been more crucial.

“The past few years have seen massive commitment to this project by all partners to ensure the success of our research, so to be recognised nationally by our peers in the industry is a wonderful achievement and the perfect way to bring the project to a close.”
Benjamin Jones, Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham

AIRBODS was led by Loughborough University, in partnership with the University of Nottingham, University College London, the University of Cambridge, the University of Sheffield, London South Bank University and Wirth Research.

Malcolm Cook, Professor of Building Performance Analysis at Loughborough University, said: “It has been a privilege to lead such a committed team of researchers who worked tirelessly during the pandemic to collect extensive data and run bespoke computer simulations.

“The work has substantially increased our understanding of indoor air quality which has become such a key focus for our nation’s health and wellbeing. This award recognises this commitment and contribution to knowledge.”
Malcolm Cook, Professor of Building Performance Analysis at Loughborough University

New detailed guidance developed from the team’s work – the largest ever study of non-domestic building air quality – will be released later this month.