The VDI 6022 Hygiene Standard and its impact on ventilation solutions
With over 37 years in the HVAC sector, David Black brings a wealth of experience. In his role as a Global Product Marketing Manager for Modular AHU, he focuses on product development and international standard compliance, embodying a profound commitment to the industry's growth and adherence to regulations. He is also a CIBSE HVAC systems group committee member.
What is the VDI 6022 Hygiene Standard?
Ensuring that indoor environments are supplied with clean, fresh air is essential for maintaining a healthy and comfortable atmosphere for the people inside. The VDI 6022 hygiene standard plays a vital role in achieving this goal and takes the cleanliness of HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) units and related ductwork under consideration. In this article, we will explore what the VDI 6022 hygiene standard is and its significance for ventilation solutions and healthy buildings.
Before we continue let’s provide a brief history on why and how the VDI standard was introduced. In the early 1980s, WHO (World Health Organisation) (the World Health Organisation), reported that up to an estimated 30% of newly built or refurbished buildings in western society had severe indoor air quality issues. As a result, an initial version of the VDI 6022 standard was published in Germany in the late 1990s. VDI means Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (Association of German Engineers). The standard is used to set the benchmark for the hygiene requirements for indoor ventilation and air conditioning systems and the methods for assessing indoor air quality. Decades on and the VDI 6022 standard is still in use and has helped drive a deeper understanding of the interrelationships of health in ventilation and air-conditioning technology.
VDI 6022 is a German standard that is mandatory for office buildings, administrative buildings, production facilities, schools or commercially developed real estate, such as hotels in Germany; but it has also achieved a high level of recognition in other European countries. As a result, more consultants, planning offices and customers outside of Germany ask for compliant ventilation and air conditioning products and systems.
How does a product achieve the VDI 6022 Hygiene Standard?
To meet the VDI 6022 hygiene standard, a ventilation or air conditioning product/solution should adhere to specific guidelines and requirements outlined in the standard. Here are the key aspects a product should fulfil to comply with VDI 6022:
- Material Selection: The product should be constructed using materials that do not release harmful substances or particles into the air. All components must be non-toxic, corrosion-resistant, and safe for use in the intended environment.
- Non-metallic materials: Only materials that do not provide a nutrient source for microorganisms can be used wherever they are in contact with the air stream. Such materials like rubber or plastic parts as well as powder coated or coil coated metal sheets must be tested for bacteria and fungi, e.g., according to ISO 846.
- Access for Cleaning and Maintenance: The product's design should facilitate easy cleaning and maintenance to prevent the build-up of dirt, dust, or microbial growth. Access points should be provided for routine inspection, cleaning, and disinfection.
- Cleaning Guidelines: VDI 6022 gives guidelines for regular cleaning intervals depending on the type of device or its component. Regular cleaning is essential for the operation and to maintain healthy supply air quality.
- Hygiene Inspections: The product should undergo regular hygiene inspections and testing. These inspections should be carried out by qualified professionals.
- Filtration: Adequate air filtration is crucial to trap airborne particles, allergens, and contaminants. The product should incorporate air filters, which fulfil the required filtration class and are regularly maintained and replaced to ensure optimal air quality.
- Sealing and Insulation: Proper sealing and insulation are essential to prevent air leakage, which can compromise the effectiveness of the ventilation system and contribute to indoor air quality issues.
- Documentation: Manufacturers should provide a manufacturer’s declaration that confirms the compliance with the hygienic requirements. Alternatively, test certificates can be supplied by third party laboratories, as well as operation manuals and maintenance guidelines.
- Condensation Management: The product should be designed to prevent and minimise the risk of water accumulation, which can promote mould and bacterial growth.
- Compliance with Local Regulations: In addition to VDI 6022, the product should meet all relevant local and national regulations and directives concerning ventilation and indoor air quality.
Manufacturers and suppliers of ventilation products can have their products certified as VDI 6022 compliant by independent testing and certification bodies. This certification provides assurance to customers and end-users that the product meets the hygiene requirements based on VDI 6022.
Overall, fulfilling VDI 6022 involves a comprehensive approach that prioritises indoor air quality, cleanliness, and safety. A product that fulfils these requirements combined with the observance of a specific schedule for optical checks, maintenance and cleaning ensures that the solution will support healthy and comfortable indoor air quality.
What is the Significance of VDI 6022 for Ventilation Solutions?
- Health and Safety: One of the key reasons why the VDI 6022 is so important for ventilation solutions is its impact on health. Proper ventilation is critical in reducing the concentration of harmful substances, pollutants, and airborne pathogens indoors. Compliance with VDI 6022 helps to mitigate the risk of indoor air pollution, respiratory issues, and airborne infections.
- Occupant Comfort: High-quality ventilation enhances indoor air quality, leading to improved comfort for people. Properly ventilated spaces are more pleasant to be in, leading to increased productivity, mental well-being, and overall health.
- Protection of HVAC Equipment: Following VDI 6022 helps protect HVAC equipment from contamination and microbial growth. Clean and well-maintained systems operate more efficiently and have a longer service life, reducing maintenance costs and energy consumption.
What Buildings and Room Types Require VDI 6022 Compliance?
The VDI 6022 is relevant for any room, which is intended for the occupancy of the same persons more than 30 days per year or regularly more than two hours per day. Due to this definition, VDI 6022 is valid for all type of workspaces in offices or industrial buildings, rest rooms, living spaces, auditoriums, sports facilities, show rooms or similar.
In healthcare settings, preventing the spread of airborne infections is of utmost importance. For this reason, hospitals and healthcare facilities may even have higher requirements based on national codes that apply in addition to the VDI 6022 standard, which should be considered as a minimum requirement where no separate nationals codes apply. As an example, the norms DIN EN 1946-4 in Germany, SWKI VA105-01 in Switzerland or ÖNORM H 6020 in Austria ensure that ventilation systems in hospitals and clinics meet the highest hygienic standards.
The VDI 6022 hygiene standard plays a vital role in ensuring that ventilation solutions contribute to healthy indoor environments. From hospitals and laboratories to office buildings and cleanrooms, compliance with this standard is essential to protect the health and well-being of occupants, preserve HVAC equipment, and meet legal requirements. By investing in ventilation systems that adhere to the VDI 6022 standard, building owners and facility managers can ensure optimal air quality and create spaces where people can thrive now and for the future.
FläktGroup products that fulfil the VDI 6022 Hygiene Standard.
Air Handling Units: