Healthy Buildings: Improved Ventilation for Healthier (and Happier) Workers

In times of COVID-19, improved ventilation and air quality will give peace of mind while helping workers breathe easier.Take a deep breath. Now, take another, but this time, pretend you’re on an airplane in coach. And again, but this time, you’re walking through a casino. Last one: imagine you’re in a meadow having a picnic. If we did a good job of sparking your imagination, you can surmise the central theme of this blog: air quality. A concern of many workers emerging from home offices making the return to their places of employment is the air quality of their offices and how ventilation could affect the spread of COVID-19. Here, we’ll dive into ways to create healthy buildings that will make them—your workforce, customers and visitors—breathe easier.

Up in the Air

As we learned earlier this year, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease) is transmitted through aerosolized droplets. While the pandemic has created an awareness of the importance of proper ventilation to dilute virus concentration and reduce the probability of infection, some industries, like airlines and gaming, have long recognized how airflow can affect their customers. Airplanes circulate cabin air through HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, and as anyone who has traveled on a plane with a malfunctioning system can attest, stale air can significantly negatively affect the travel experience. Casinos ensure that air is being filtered and refreshed, to encourage guests to continue gambling for extended periods of time.

COVID-19 will only accelerate these trends and introduce best practices into industries and businesses previously unconcerned with upgrading or enhancing their ventilation. At a minimum, facility professionals will be more cognizant of timely filter replacements. Going more extreme, some businesses will audit their system holistically, seeking ways to make sweeping improvements.

Ventilation for Healthy Buildings

Ventilation is something we know a thing or two about. Many of our energy-saving solutions fall into the category of HVAC: boilers, RTUs, chillers, air handling units, split systems and heat pumps. Working with our customers, we consider building type and operating characteristics among other factors when recommending solutions to achieve energy efficiencies, cost savings and healthy buildings.

Rather than suggesting equipment replacements, we often focus on and recommend ways to modify and improve controls to improve efficiency while delivering a return on investment. For instance, RTUs can be retrofitted with intelligent controls for energy-performance improvements, and even modest changes to ventilation-system controls can significantly impact energy consumption and increase equipment life.

If you have questions about your ventilation system, or are looking for ways to offer your workers, customers and visitors a healthy building, we hope you’ll contact us.