University of Mannheim: Air filters in schools: 50 euros per person per year would be enough

With a view to the pandemic, air filters could play a decisive role in making classroom teaching possible in schools on a permanent basis even after the summer holidays. Because mobile air filters make a significant contribution to reducing the concentration of aerosols and thus essential carriers of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in the air. But the search for the right device is often difficult: the range is very large, and critics also argue that they are often too loud, too expensive or ineffective. The economist Prof. Dr. Anna Rohlfing-Bastian at the Goethe University and the economist Dr. Gunther Glenk at the University of Mannheim have now developed a calculator that makes it easier to find suitable and inexpensive devices.

Users of the user-friendly calculation tool can set various parameters such as room size, occupancy, length of stay and activities of people in the room (silence, speaking and singing cause different aerosol emissions). It is also possible to enter a maximum value for the decibel load. Taking into account the maximum tolerable risk of infection, the tool calculates the cost-efficient equipment of a room with mobile air filters and the associated costs per person and year.

“For example, a primary school should be able to purchase air filter devices for around 50 euros per person per year,” summarizes Dr. Gunther Glenk summarized the results of the study. Glenk is Assistant Professor at the Mannheim Institute for Sustainable Energy Studies (MISES) at the University of Mannheim. “The summer holidays can now be used to purchase mobile air filters nationwide,” the economist continues. If everyone in the room wears masks, this cuts costs by half. Another advantage is that such filters not only help in a pandemic situation, but also generally against viruses such as flu viruses and against air pollution.