Re opening your building to the public; Controlling your HVAC, BMS Controls with COVID in mind.
We have all very recently had to become flexible in our approach to life in general. Living with COVID, we have all had to adapt; whether it be washing our hands, social distancing, wearing face masks or any of the other changes the Coronavirus has enforced upon our lives.
As people, we have had to become more aware of our surroundings, and how we approach our everyday life. So, we have needed to be adaptable and change with the government guidelines and modifications to how we go about our business.
Re opening of public buildings requires thought and flexibility too, with marking the floors with 2m distancing, spacing of work-stations, and providing hand sanitisation stations to name but a few of the considered changes. We need to ensure that the environment and comfort conditions are as COVID secure as possible for employees, members of the pubic, and in fact anybody who wants or needs to enter our building.
How can this be achieved?
Here are a few ideas that might be worthwhile thinking about.
Any building that has BMS control over its HVAC system may well have a good starting point for make some of the environmental changes required.
If you have Air Handling Units (AHU) with re-circulation, then it is advised that these are modified to run full fresh air. This can easily be modified if controlled by your BMS.
We also need to be aware that bringing in more fresh air at this time of the year shouldn’t cause too many issues, but as the temperatures drop in autumn and winter, if there is not enough ability with the AHU to heat the air, then people may begin to complain of draughts. Users that can intervene with the control of the AHU, by switching it off, should be made aware of why these systems need to be kept running.
If you have CO2 demand control, on your system, it is recommended that the set points should be raised to 400ppm to increase the amount of fresh air coming into the building. Again, this is something that can be easily modified on your BMS.
It also recommended that ventilation systems should be kept on longer but at reduced ventilation rates (by reducing the speed on fan inverters if possible). It is also advised that ventilation systems are run at reduced rates as opposed to switched off.
If you have a BMS and your building has recently reopened or is about to reopen, please get in contact if you would like some help or advice on how to keep the environment for your employees and customers safe and at the minimum risk of viral contamination.