Building Design Goes Back to Basics for Health
Clean air inside has sort of been taken for granted.
How much risk of infection can you eliminate in your building? Quite a bit, according to ASHRAE.
“Ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems can reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and thus the risk of transmission through the air.” That is a powerful statement and places a large weight of responsibility on building operators. But providing a healthy building and proving it to occupants may not be as complicated as you think.
Your building likely has the basic equipment needed to take most of the industry recommended precautions to provide clean air and thus an inhospitable environment for viruses. For those in building operations, your areas of focus can be broken into 3 measurable steps:
Step 1: Verify that building systems are in good working order and properly sequenced:
The easiest thing you can do right now is to ensure proper air ventilation. In fact, it’s ASHRAE’s first recommendation for non-healthcare facilities.
System monitoring is key to prove that you are running a healthy building. Here’s how you can do that:
Step 2: Decide if additional air quality measures need to be implemented:
When it comes to taking reasonable precautions for building health, ASHRAE’s guidance adds ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) and states that when combined with step 1 above, UVGI is “[an] effective strategy for reducing the risk of dissemination of infectious aerosols in buildings and transportation environments.”
UVGI is not only an effective means of reducing the risk in this pandemic, it provides reduced risk from any airborne infection that can be transmitted person to person. As is the case with all of these best practices, they are most effective when combined with proper surface disinfection and personal hygiene.
Your MSI can help you to find the best UVGI solution for your system.
Step 3: Decide how to best communicate your actions to your occupants:
If you watch enough news, you know that fears are born in uncertainty. Your goal as a building owner should be to reduce the level of fear in your occupants as they re-enter the space they once considered safe. There is no doubt that creative minds thrive in this space of human relationships but here are a couple of ideas that seem practical to us:
The health of your building has never been more important. Proving that your building is healthy is going to become the new normal. Combining trustworthy standards with best practice is both practical and efficient in this time of confusion and concern.
OTI is a trusted MSI with decades of proven and practical experience. Call us at (888) 684-8454, send us an email to email@example.com or fill in the form found here and we can work together to create a safe environment that your occupants will feel safe returning to.
Matt White writes about smart building trends specific to the Northeast, including cost-sharing opportunities with NYSERDA's RTEM and exciting new projects in New York City.