Safe operation of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC) are critical components of building readiness. Crockett Facilities is committed to helping building owners work through the process of planning a safe return to normal building operation and as such recommend ASHRAE’s resources to provide guidance on mitigating potential health risks during the reopening of buildings closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following is a list of practical HVAC measures that can be implemented prior to reopening.
- Prior to starting the building, operators may want to create a strategic plan that includes the following:
- Create measures to make occupants feel safer
- Ensure supply chain for critical items, such as filters, masks and gloves are confirmed for delivery
- Establish a communication protocol with tenants and include key contacts
- Prepare and provide training for tenants on safety measures and PPE usage
- Ensure that the custodial scope of services includes proper cleaning procedures built from EPA and CDC guidance on approved products and methods:
- Disinfect high-touch areas of HVAC and other building service systems (e.g. on/off switches, thermostats)
- Disinfect interior of refrigerated devices, e.g. refrigerators, where the virus can potentially survive for long periods of time.
- Open outside air intake dampers to their maximum, 100% preferred four hours minimum, before the reoccupation. The maximum position the outside air dampers may be opened will depend on the time of year, local climate, the temperature and humidity of the outside air, and the capability of the HVAC equipment to condition the outside air so that the system is able to maintain acceptable indoor temperature and humidity. When operating in this “flush out” mode, monitor the system continuously to make sure that unexpected or unacceptable conditions inside do not develop. Upon completion of the flush, the damper positions should be corrected to provide design levels.
- Check overall building pressure to make sure it is positive. Do the same for any critical interior spaces.
- Replace existing filters within HVAC Systems using proper PPE and consider increasing the level of filtration in the Air Handling Units (AHUs) for one or two replacement cycles upon opening the building. Make sure the air handling systems and fans can overcome the additional pressure drop of the new filters and still maintain airflow at acceptable levels. Refer to the Filtration Guidance www.ashrae.org/covid19.
- Consider an update to the programming that would incorporate HVAC strategies to reduce virus transmission prior to future events. Automate the control sequences applied as “Epidemic Mode” operations that can be manually selected by the operator with one stroke.
Crockett Facilities Can Help!
Crockett Facilities Services, Inc. (CFSI) is committed to helping building owners, property managers, engineers, and facility professionals navigate the post-COVID-19 environment. We can develop a cost-effective, customized program for your building that will mitigate the potential health risks of COVID-19. Click Here to Request a Quote
To learn more about the importance of reopening your building safely, please contact us at 202.600.2787 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our PM contract customers receive priority service with 24/7 emergency service in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!