Close-Up of Indoor Facility HVAC
Close-Up of Indoor Facility HVAC

Beyond HVAC: Indoor Air Quality and COVID-19

Published June 03, 2021

Categories: Coronavirus, Webinar


Well good afternoon and good morning everyone uh thanks for joining our webinar beyond HVAC indoor air quality and COVID-19 before I introduce our panel we welcome your questions as we discuss what is a very very timely topic for sure as all of our workplaces prepare to reopen there is a place to type in and submit your questions in the chat box on the right hand portion of your screen if you direct those questions to Flagship Facility Services we will make sure that we try to address them at the end of the webinar we have time allotted to answer questions let me begin today if you want to move to the next slide let me begin today by introducing our panel Michelle Kleiber is the National Account Director for Flagship’s largest IFM client and leads Flagship’s center of excellence for engineering she is steeped in reliability maintenance and practices like Six Sigma and Lean she led facility operations for biotech and automotive clients among others and she has partnered with Newcomb and Boyd to lead Flagship’s efforts to bring indoor air quality processes and expertise to our clients Michelle holds a bachelor’s of masters in mechanical engineering along with an MBA uh thank you Michelle for joining us today next let me introduce our panelists from Newcomb and Boyd up first Adam Bare he’s been with Newcomb and Boyd for a number of years as a partner with them was named such in 2017 and has more than 25 years of experience in mechanical engineering design project management and his partner in charge responsibilities for more than 330 projects with an emphasis on health care and academic campuses he has presented and published on health care and scientific research topics especially noting the complexities of HVAC system planning and design in such environments through listening to the needs of clients and owners keeping an eye on the big picture and maintaining open communication Adam provides sound advice and delivers on his promises to his clients Adam thank you for joining us today Danna Richey has 11 years of experience as a mechanical engineer and consultant for sustainable and healthy buildings Danna is knowledgeable in energy modeling ventilation indoor air quality and more Dana is a WELL AP a Fitwell ambassador and a RESET AP and is proficient in the requirements for health and wellness related building certifications and ASHRAE standards Danna had the distinct honor of being selected as one of Engineered Systems Magazine’s top 20 to watch women in HVAC in 2020. Danna thank you very much for joining us today Jenna Jenna Grygier has more than eight years of experience as a mechanical engineer is passionate about the sustainable design of buildings and the impact of indoor air quality she has presented and published on topics such as indoor air quality ventilation energy modeling building monitoring and more in addition to being a professional engineer Jenna is a RESET quality assurance designee and a certified building analyst by the performance building performance institute um so welcome esteemed guests and we thank you for your time today and I’m Mike Thompson I’m the president of Flagship’s Integrated Facility Management business I’m here to moderate moderate let the experts talk shop and hopefully guide our discussions to touch on critical points that are important to all of you who are attending today’s call on the next slide you’ll see what we’re going to attempt to cover today the importance of a multi-prong approach to indoor air quality ASHRAE’s guidelines and how they might apply to your workplace some realistic indoor air quality strategies that consider your building’s current conditions and facility certifications what they mean to your building and to your occupants so we have a lot of ground to cover let’s dive right in um on the next slide Adam there’s been a lot of discussion around ASHRAE and COVID and indoor air quality can you give us uh an overview of what ASHRAE is saying about it. Yeah definitely so let me start off by saying that you know right at the onset of the pandemic and if anybody doesn’t know who ASHRAE is actually I’m mechanical engineer so um they’re the kind of mothership for people like me but they’re the national organization that um provides all the guidance and works on mostly all the codes and standards everything related to HVAC design that affects building design and so at the onset of the pandemic uh last spring they came out immediately with statements and they formed what they call their epidemic task force or the ETF and that ETF they they pulled together basically many of the leaders from ASHRAE and they pulled in leaders from others across the world to assist with investigating and researching as much as we could and basically come out with information for all of us as quickly as possible so that we knew what to do because we knew a lot of the facility owners and a lot of the designs we were going to be having to answer a lot of questions so people like me we were at at that time we were um and I’m actually part of the ETF but we we spent a lot of time trying to keep in touch with what ASHRAE was finding it was changing quickly as you can imagine um throughout last year and even there have been changes earlier this year which we’ll cover today um but you know one of the main things was we were trying to keep up with the knowledge of what we we had about COVID-19. It was rapidly evolving and still evolving um there were a lot of uh you may have heard the term airborne infectious disease that is a still a question is whether it’s really categorized as that but the prevailing theory right now is that it does um it does get aerosolized in some way in small particles and thus long-range transmission is possible uh that is a theory it’s not proven but that is the belief and so based on that that that is why we’re here today because that means that the room design indoor air quality can have a direct effect on the infectivity of the room and good design and good measures for these buildings can help reduce airborne exposures so what ASHRAE’s focus was was more of a holistic approach so you’re going to hear this quite a bit today that you know there’s not a fits all there are many different strategies but the main thing was to educate building operators design teams owners with the best information available at the time so that they can make the right decisions and of course everything’s going to come back to cost right so the main thing was to help folks go through all the different strategies you might want to consider for your building and figure out the right thing for you one caveat here is ASHRAE’s not saying that if you do these things if you do any or all of them all of a sudden your building is quote unquote safe but the other part on the flip side is that most of the strategies we’re going to cover today that you’ve probably heard about filtration increased ventilation these sorts of things these aren’t new strategies we’ve been talking about this for decades and we’ve known for many years that indoor in good indoor air quality has a direct tie with indoor health and safety and so it’s always a great a great idea um the so that what that means is is that what we’re talking about strategies to help with COVID-19 or lo and behold you know a future infectious disease like this that they’re the idea is not that you would implement them and all of a sudden when COVID-19 hopefully is gone um you just take all the stuff out of your building that’s not the idea all these strategies we’re talking about we feel like are good strategies for your building for good indoor air quality COVID-19 or not this just kind of accelerates the need um so the type of guidance that ASHRAE’s provided and you know the link here on the screen if you go to ASHRAE’s website you’ll find all sorts of different links for the in different FAQ’s and answers to questions so what we’ve done and I think most of the others in the industry what they’ve done is they’ve tried to boil these things down into categories and to nail it down to what is the prevailing theories and what is the process so we’ve kind of put these strategies in the buckets there’s procedural type strategies such as risk assessments and looking at your building in terms of how does it encourage physical distancing that sort of thing obviously HVAC which we’re going to cover a lot today um in the healthcare environment in some cases in other applications but a lot of for healthcare looking at what spaces are under negative pressure is a big focus point um disinfection and not just for as far as how you disinfect surfaces in the rooms but also uh disinfection type strategies that are out there for the mechanical systems or for this the air in the space uh there’s all sorts of technologies coming up coming out there people are you’ve probably seen it you’ve probably seen lots of advertisements about different um equipment or systems that would help reduce the um you know improve your space and their indoor air quality with respect to COVID and then lastly this is one that’s in a lot in the healthcare environment but also in the corporate world is temporary or surge provisions of what do you do if there’s an event.

Next slide please.

So ASHRAE came out with the guidance pretty early last year I mean the first their first statements came out April-ish maybe but the first the first letter they came out with was in April and they continue to update that guidance as they go so they they’re not calling this their core recommendations their initial guidance was very conservative so for example they suggested that you increase your your ventilation or your outside air as much as you can that you increase your filtration level as much as you can that you disable certain things in your building that might reduce your outside air such as demand control ventilation things like that since then ASHRAE has come back on that.

They basically they focus more on okay well it’s more about how much money can you spend knowing that cost is an issue none of this is necessarily going to make your building safe it’s just making it better and improving the indoor air quality and with the focus on trying to reduce your exposure the idea is make it allowing people giving right information to spend the money where they want to spend it now this middle bullet point we have here that says they said the core recommendations uh are near mature that’s ASHRAE’s word those are x-rays words we put that here because I actually don’t know if that’s true I think we still have a lot to learn but um I would say um hopefully that’s true but there’s still a lot of research going on and as you’ve probably heard there’s just a lot to learn about this disease the last bullet point with respect to um equivalent clean air supply that’s a new approach that ASHRAE has come out with that is and it kind of ties into this idea of spending your money in the right ways so we’re going to talk about that more today and we can explain what that is but the clean air supply approach is essentially figuring out the right mix between filtration and increasing ventilation and not necessarily doing both or all of both.

Great Adam thanks very much so so Jenna um lots of stuff as Adam just raised uh relative to ASHRAE if there are say a handful of things that every FM every facility manager manager should do to fulfill ASHRAE’s recommendations what would some of those things be.

So I I think the first thing that FM’s should do is um go into gather gathering your resources get into that mode where you’re finding your plans for the building whether that’s the original design plans or maybe there’s been some renovations since the original design so gathering plans figuring out has has any sort of test and balance efforts been completed um since the original um build out or um has there not been a recent test and balance um so so digging into that um similar um similar to that is you know figuring out has any sort of retro commissioning efforts taken place and and out of all of these these these tests and efforts were there any sort of issues identified during those processes that that were remediated or um are there still some things that are hanging hanging loose that we need to remediate so the first step is gather resources get into the information collection mode document what you have and you can start looking at do the design values for outdoor air do those match up with what you’re seeing on the building automation system that’s a really great place to start if you do have a building automation system.

And also documenting what what are the concerns that you’re aware of um you know um the complaints that you receive or controls that constantly go wrong so sort of just documenting that um as part of this effort um especially as it relates to to ventilation and filtration um then the next thing to do after you kind of get a baseline of what’s going on would be to um look into conducting an indoor air quality assessment having a professional come out to your building and and do an assessment hyper focused on on outdoor air infiltration looking at all of your air handling units to take a deeper dive into some of these issues so great question um and that leads us into the ASHRAE core recommendations that Adam mentioned ASHRAE is also a great place to start if you’re looking for somewhere to start maybe maybe start with these five core recommendations from ASHRAE they came out in January of this year so relatively recently and it’s all a big focus on on what we can do to impact risk so we’re looking to reduce risk as far as you know infectious aerosols or virus viruses are concerned so these five recommendations this starts with public health guidance the first line of defense is human behavior and that can go for a lot of things other than just COVID-19 so follow the public health guidance secondly that’s when we want to start looking at ventilation filtration and air cleaning um so this is where you get the bulk of your um your efforts or the the greatest results for with these three things um so that would be the next place to start looking um as far as outdoor air as Adam mentioned ASHRAE originally was being very conservative with their approach um saying maximize outdoor air maximize filtration I think here now we’re taking a step back and saying we at least need to provide minimum outdoor airflow as the building was originally designed so that’s the first that’s the first step here is provide at least the minimum amount of outdoor airflow if you’re looking at an HVAC schedule it’ll be the value it’ll be the outdoor air value there um make sure that we’re providing that while the building is occupied um so that’s even if um there might be cleaning crews or you know a handful of different types of trades coming in after regular business hours like maybe they’ll come in at like 6 pm so that’s including those hours it’s making sure when when anybody is in the building to provide that minimum amount of air increasing air beyond the design values is possible but we need to look at that with with a careful approach before just cranking up the outdoor air as high as you can and that’s that’s for a lot of reasons um one of the main ones is um cooling cooling coil capacities we don’t want to create any sort of humidity problems the the central plant may not be able to handle it so there’s a lot of different parts that need to be evaluated before just turning up your airs as high as you can if you already have enhanced controls in your building then that might be a great way to a great opportunity to make sure they’re working properly things such as supply air reset or supply air temperature reset or economize economizer control these are things that may help increase outdoor air in the future but you want to make sure they’re working properly properly first and I do want to mention if if any sort of control schemes are are modified it’s important to save the schemes that you have in place currently so that you can go back to those in the future during like a post-pandemic condition.

So that’s that touches on number two for number three here air distribution I want to just briefly mention this one typical office spaces are designed to have well-mixed air.

And this is in contrast with some systems that try to displace air such as displacement ventilation systems it’s recommended to promote good mixing in the space if it was designed that way and you can verify this several ways a test and balance reports can help you verify if you’re getting the air in the places that you need supply and return and this is because good mixing decreases the risk per person we want to avoid any sort of strong air currents that blow air across people horizontally because that could that could increase direct transmission from person to person so that so this is what number three is is accounting for here for number four um one of the biggest differences here is in the original guidance from ASHRAE um they were recommending to to everybody to consider humidifying up to 40 percent during the winter in general the the recommendation is to stay between 40 to 60 percent in order to do that a lot of buildings would need to humidify in the winter.

4.1 here says maintain temperature and humidity design set points so it’s important to rather than attempting to add humidification to your building which is a huge capital cost that may end up having some negative side effects instead let’s focus on maintaining the design set points that we have um and when I I even asked ASHRAE why um why did we go back on this there’s lots of research about low relative humidity possibly making an impact on on virus transmission and they said it’s a it’s a benefit to to cost decision that we don’t want to cause any issues if the building wasn’t designed for humidification there’s a lot of things that need to go into consider consideration like the building envelope and controls um stuff like that. So can I come in there. Yes. On the humidification side another another part about humidification another downside of adding humidification is for facility maintenance folks you’ll know the that is a common maintenance problem and it’s a it’s just it can it can actually be an infection control hazard depending on the maintenance issue so that that was another factor in ASHRAE backing off on recommending to add it. Right.

Um oh sorry Jenna go ahead. Yeah just a few just a few more points here I wanted to talk about the equivalent clean air supply that Adam mentioned in the beginning so this concept stemmed from it’s it’s been around for a while at least the concept has been it stems from something called the wells riley equation which is in the the risk reduction world very well known it provides a quick and simple way of assessing like the infection risk of certain diseases so ASHRAE realized okay this is this is applicable to our situation let’s let’s apply it here um so the equivalent clean air calculation um uses a combination of how much outdoor air you have in your building what type of filtration or air cleaning technologies do you have for recirculated air and what type of air cleaning technologies do you have in the space so you take you take all of those into consideration um for this calculation and it comes up with what is your equivalent clean air so the main takeaway here is that clean air doesn’t have to come from outside we all know outside outdoor air is likely free of the virus and that’s great but also things like enhanced filtration and air cleaning technologies can also provide clean air so if we look at this as a combination of all of those things.

That’s why we’re able to not everybody go to 100 outdoor air let’s look at some of these other ways that we can that we can make our our buildings better and and do things such as like a pre and post occupancy flush out and I’m just going to highlight this example ASHRAE recommends a pre and post occupancy flush out and they’ve targeted about three air changes for that flush out because with those three air changes in one hour you it’s estimated you get about a 95 reduction in risk with two hours it’s closer to about a 99 reduction in risk um and so ASHRAE recommends to do a flush out for two hours prior to occupancy and in two hours post occupancy however if you if you go through these equivalent clean air calculations and and take credit for your filters and any sort of UV or portable air cleaners you have you can get that four hour total flush out down to about a half hour flush out so this dramatically helps us save energy and helps this be more practical rather than running our systems for 24-7 or doing you know four to five hours worth of flush out so that’s that’s where the equivalent clean air concept really comes in and and helps us so.

So Jenna um boy there’s a lot there’s a lot in there um you know we talked a little bit about ventilation and filtration and some of the other things um is there a logical order of what a facility manager should really address first.

Yeah that’s that’s a great question and we can go to the next slide that kind of leads us into what I was going to talk about next so for ventilation and filtration for example we wouldn’t want to just look at one or the other we really want to look at these at the same time everything works as a system one impacts the other for example if you have a 100 outdoor air system you’re likely going to need pre-filters and then main filters alternatively if you have enhanced filters in an existing system you might decrease your airflow so everything kind of works together so looking at a system is the best is the best approach there.

And to keep to keep on this the concept of equivalent clean air this is one way to look at why why we can do that why why that’s beneficial.

So this graph does a really good job at comparing ventilation versus filtration so the y-axis is relative risk of infection so as you go down.

Down the graph on the y-axis that means that your risk is lower so you’ll see with MERV 13, 14, 16, all the way to HEPA filtration your wrist kind of flattens out on the right hand side of the graph with all those colorful lines you’ll see four different locations and that represents outdoor air so as you’ve just traveled to the right of the graph that would be 100 outdoor air to the left would be closer to zero or maybe a minimum amount so as you see um as you travel down this curve here MERV 13 really takes a turn so as soon as you go from a MERV 4 or MERV 7, 11 to a MERV 13 you really take that turn there as far as risk reduction when you compare that with something like 100 percent outdoor air it’s it looks like a MERV 16 is about equivalent to 100 outdoor air so we see here that it a good filter can also provide good benefits for air quality and that’s the main takeaway here as the air goes through the filters again and again as long as there’s no introduced viral load the air should get cleaner every single time and so that’s the concept.

Here next slide please.

Thank you so some more more talk about filters so when you’re first looking at what you have in your building um here’s kind of like a train of thought that you could follow to to kind of get your mind going on um can I can I get MERV 13 do I have MERV 13. so the first thing you want to do is determine determine what you have do you have flat panel filters or do you have bag filters as shown here maybe you have a V-Bank configuration then you want to figure out what your MERV rating of the filters are and I want to say that sometimes this requires a little bit of research and investigation sometimes it’s printed on the filter and sometimes it’s not and you and you need to look up a model number and do some digging online one thing to point out here is that sometimes filters are sold as MERV13 filters and and they are tested to be MERV 13 filters there’s a technology out there um where filters can be charged or treated and those are a certain type of filter that allows you to get a lower pressure drop and usually a about a two inch filter and still get a MERV 13.usually MERV 13’s will be four inch four inch standard but if you have a charged or treated filter media you can get down to a two inch and still have your MERV 13 the um the one thing about these filters is that they lose their charge over time and it’s kind of an unknown amount of time so it could be it could lose their charge after two weeks or it could be after two months so if you have a filter like this it’s it’s great especially if it’s a MERV 13 but I would say let’s let’s do some more digging and see what that MERV Rating drops down to after some time and one way we can do that is requesting a MERV A Rating from the manufacturer so just keep in mind MERV A is is an option it’s an optional test that manufacturers can put their filters through to see okay we tested MERV 13 in the beginning after some time it drops down to a MERV 8 and that’s very common but it’s good to verify that.

If you have less than a MERV 13 filter one of the first things you want to you want to figure out is do you have a recent test and balance report available if you do that test and balance report should be able to tell you if you have any sort of static pressure availability if the systems were maxed out when they were tested then they likely don’t but that’s kind of one thing you can look to to see where you are another thing is is there is there’s physically space available to increase the filter thickness or increase the filter depth one good option is the bag filters that are shown on this page and those take up about 12 inches of depth so if you have space for that you can retrofit your existing filter racks and put these in if if you have static pressure available the bag filters usually have lower pressure drops which is why this is a great option lastly you want to look at what your what your maintenance protocol looks like now and what it may look like in the future if you did upgrade your filters so usually with like a MERV 13 filter higher in an existing system you’ll need to replace it more often and and you’ll want to just make sure to have procedure for that a lot of times there are filter alarms on building automation system which is which is very useful but a lot of times those are overwritten you know so that they’re not going off all the time but in this case especially if we’re upgrading our filters we want to make sure those filter alarms are working since since we’ll likely need to be changing them more often and lastly here when you’re looking at your existing system a good bang for your buck is to identify any sort of filter bypass or gaps that you have and I’ll talk about this more on the on the next slide so the reason why filter gaps are so important um it’s because even if they’re even if it’s just a small gap it dramatically reduces your MERV rating so in this case um a properly installed um MERV 11 is better than a poorly installed MERV 15. and you can see that because of a properly installed MERV 11 that has a mirror 11 rating whereas a poorly installed 15 is closer to an eight so if you’re going to pay for a MERV MERV 15 filter or MERV 13 filter you want to make sure you’re getting your your filter so in this example this this research that was conducted a 10 millimeter gap which is less than half an inch it takes a MERV 15 down to a MERV 8. so this just highlights why why this is important and on the image here on the slide you’ll see that.

One one thing we’ve found before is a good way to seal up those gaps is just adding some tape in between the seams that way there’s no air bypassing in between those small cracks between the filters so it’s good to see that um even in something as important as indoor air quality that a facility manager can still rely on duct tape that’s always a good thing right.

And clearly the quality of the installation matters right so having trained professionals who know what they’re doing really makes a difference as you’ve shown here in the uh in the illustration thanks yeah it does make a bit of a big difference in filter gaskets too can be can be utilized and you’d have to go get that rather than using some some tape you have laying around but even if it’s a short-term solution adding this tape will make a dramatic difference so.

Okay next slide.

So this is our last deep dive here on the on the subject of air cleaners I wanted to bring this up because there’s a lot of products out there and I just wanted to call attention to some things you should keep your eyes out for a direct quote from ASHRAE in the core recommendations is only use air cleaners for which evidence of effectiveness and safety is clear so we don’t want to you know for example install an air cleaner in in a conference room and then have the air cleaner emitting ozone as a byproduct of the cleaning process so that’s what we mean by the safety is clear part and there’s two resources you can use to to look for air cleaners that have under undergone some form of ozone testing and that’s the California air review board website as well as the UL 2998 Rating System the UL 29998 is for zero ozone emissions so just know that that exists and to to look for that they have searchable directories online so if a product comes to you with with a an air cleaner that they think is a great solution just reference that list and just make sure it’s safe some other specs to consider for air cleaners.

You want to make sure that they’re not noisy if if you have a noisy air cleaner then the occupants will just likely turn them off so we want to make sure that the air cleaner is running at a nice comfortable level with noise and you also want to make sure that the manufacturer provides a clean air delivery rate for the air cleaner this will tell you what the airflow and CFM is of the air cleaner this will tell you how much air is coming out of it the one thing about clean air delivery rate is that it comes that it’s specified in different sizes of particulate matter so the one that accounts for the smallest.

Particulate matter sizes is smoke they also have clean air delivery rates for pollen and dust so smoke is the smaller particle sizes so we want to try to maximize that clean air delivery rate for smoke so you know look out for that usually products with a fan work better than than products that don’t have a fan.

And lastly you just want to make sure that you are sizing these properly you can have a professional help you ASHRAE has a lot of good guidance on this now on their website and you also want to make sure you take into account any sort of maintenance requirements the so if there’s UV bulbs you know how often are you gonna have to change those um if there’s filters are they washable are they or do you need to replace them um every quarter just things like that just keep in mind that are important when looking at air cleaners. Great, Jenna that was a lot of great information thanks very much for sharing it um and a lot of stuff uh kind of happening as part of this right increasing fresh air upgrading filters making sure that a building automation system is really operating as designed maybe even going through some kind of retro commissioning um but what’s the meaning and what’s the significance of some of the new certifications and and what are they if I get them what do I tell the people who are occupying um my workplace Danna can can you talk us through some of the certifications. Yeah absolutely um we could go to the next slide I’ll show you what those look.

Like see I think it may be a couple slides down.

Yeah and that might be something we can address here um.

There it is all right um so there are several different certifications and uh many of them developed kind of a sub certification in direct response to the pandemic so up on the screen here you see well well and reset which you may be familiar with in response to the pandemic they came out with Fitwel viral response module WELL-Held safety rating and RESET Index so I want to talk about in the time that we have where each of these can be applied some of the key objectives and strategies associated with these rating systems and look at the cost and level of effort required um all of these have very minimal capital cost I’m sorry the WELL and Fitwel have very minimal capital costs there’s a relatively easy and quick path to certification we’re looking at about 12 weeks you can compare that to a typical timeline for the full certifications for full WELL or Fitwel of about 12 months and they’re focused largely on facilities operations and management so there’s very little capital cost as I mentioned associated with these RESET’s a little bit different because there are indoor air quality monitors that would be installed but that would be the only cost capital cost associated with that so the idea behind these rating systems is that they’re providing occupants confidence to let them know that you’re thinking about their health and steps are being taken with occupant health in mind so on the next slide I want to talk about well health safety reading this was introduced by the international WELL Building Institute there are six categories and 26 strategies within this rating system and compliance with at least 15 of them is required to achieve this rating and as you can see in the little image here there would be a seal a certification placed on the entry door to your building once it’s achieved and as I mentioned earlier this is something that would provide the tenants and the occupants in the building confidence to let them know you’re thinking about their health and actions are being taken so looking really quickly at these six strategies here or six categories cleaning and sanitization procedures we’ve all been doing that for for over a year now things like supporting hand washing reducing surface contact with hands-free equipment looking at your cleaning practices and products and minimizing respiratory particle exposure with one-way signage and limiting the number of people that go in certain rooms then there’s emergency preparedness programs health service resources looking at sick leave health benefits smoking policies air and water quality management so that goes into assessing your ventilation systems and your filtration and air treatment systems a lot of what Jenna talked about earlier so you would hire a professional to come into your building and make these assessments and provide guidance as to what things could be done for your specific building and I think it’s important to reiterate that it’s it’s really critical to have a professional come in and complete this assessment because every system is different not every system can take more 13 filtration not every system can have the ventilation be increased so it’s really important to understand what your system is capable of so you can optimize it for your building um also looking at air and water quality monitoring which I’ll get into a little bit deeper with RESET and then communicating all of these things to the building occupants to let them know what you’re doing in their space to help with their health in mind on the next slide is Fitwel Viral Response Module and this is very similar to WELL Held Safety Rating with a few differences um this rating system has 21 strategies within three categories and it requires compliance with 70 of the strategies there are also eight prerequisites so different from WELL Health Safety which had no prerequisites you could pick any 15 strategies that you wanted to this one has eight prerequisites two of those can be um can be a cost or operational challenge and I want to talk about that in a minute um but in general a lot of this is very similar to WELL Health Safety you’re looking at the same policies and procedures related to cleaning hand hygiene PPE Guidelines etc. so the cost and operational challenges here associated with the prerequisites are the ventilation prerequisite this one requires that your ventilation system provides 30 percent more ventilation than is required by code as Jenna mentioned this can be a challenge with some of your existing buildings with older infrastructure perhaps the system wasn’t designed to have 30 percent increase ventilation and it would require significant capital cost you’re looking at equipment replacement and possibly ductwork replacement so that can be a sticking point in older buildings and then the sick leave prerequisite it requires 53 hours of paid sick leave separate from your um your PTO uh that could be a sticking point for some for some companies as well so in the next slide I want to talk about RESET Air Index.

RESET was actually developed well before the pandemic in 2014 but in response to the pandemic they came out with RESET Air Index and I want to first say RESET is not a rating system like WELL-Held Safety Rating or Fitwel Viral Response Module it’s a standard related to indoor air quality monitoring so we’re looking at monitoring the temperature particulate matter VOC’s carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide within your space and relative humidity what they did with RESET Air Index is they took all of those elements that you’re monitoring in your building and they combined that with some scientific data related to virus health how easily viruses can be transmitted in the building um and and several other things and came up with an infection potential so on the next slide I want to show you what that looks like.

Next slide please.

So here you can see the RESET Air Index and basically they’ve taken all that data and based on the relative humidity temperature articulate matter VOC’s and the scientific data that they’ve looked at they’re saying that there’s a 90 this building is 98 optimized for human health again this is based on the data that’s available and out there but the the idea is that this can help provide your occupants with confidence about the air quality within your space so on the next slide I want to look at costs for all of these we talked about the WELL Health Safety Rating the Fitwel Viral Response Module and RESET Air the cost for WELL Health Safety and Fitwel Viral Response is quite low um all around looking at registration certification and capital costs so our registration and certification is five thousand dollars or less and capital costs could be as low as zero it could be up to 30 if you’re looking at capital improvements to increase your ventilation um but I think it’s important to note that it could be as low as zero and this could easily be determined by a preliminary ventilation assessment um RESET has a much higher capital cost because you’re looking at adding indoor air quality monitors throughout your space in this example here we’ve said a 200,000 gross square foot building with a thousand employees is going to be about 100;000 capital cost could be much less depending on the size of your space and then lastly this slide here is to show the WELL Health Safety Rating and Fitwel Viral Response Module has pricing that is scalable so if we can look at the next slide please you can see that instead of 4,200 per building to achieve WELL Health Safety Rating if you have 10 buildings it would be ten thousand dollars total uh Fitwel VRM is very similar instead of five thousand dollars per building if you have ten buildings you’re looking at sixty eight hundred dollars so this is a great thing to be able to apply um on a large scale for an entire portfolio.

Great Danna thanks very much so we have about uh 11 minutes remaining and we do have some questions coming in um so I’d like to do the best we can to get those answered the first question that came in uh is this and that is what type of inspection reports um can uh can be used by a building manager I’d open that up to uh to the panel.

When are we talking about for the certification process or just for an eye for the IAQ portion of work let’s assume that it means for the IAQ okay well I would certainly say a test and balance report is very useful uh really every everything existing that you might have as far as the existing equipment would be useful for anybody doing an assessment um I’m not sure if I answered the question but more information would help okay we’ll see if any any more of that comes in another question that um and Danna Danna I think this is for you is does it make sense for an FM to pursue one certification more than another yeah that’s a really good question I think it’s very dependent upon um the building owner or tenant goals and also dependent upon the condition of their existing systems so as I mentioned earlier Fitwel Viral Response Module has a prerequisite to increase ventilation by 30 percent so if you have an older building uh with a system that wasn’t designed to do that that can be quite difficult and have a large capital cost so that might rule out that option in that case WELL Held Safety Rating would be a better fit and then if you’re more interested in monitoring indoor air quality in your space and reporting that information to the occupants REST Air Index or RESET Error would be a really good choice so it’s really dependent upon the goals of the owner and you can always achieve more than one great great Danna thanks very much another question that has come in if we’re planning to reopen in September um when should we start and really what should be step one.

September so that’s five months I would say start as soon as you can so and I say that only because you don’t know what you’re gonna find so it wouldn’t hurt to start sooner rather than later and if you find if you don’t find much and you can implement the strategies easily that’s great but if you find out you need to do more work it gives you more breathing room to get the work done yeah and and assuming start means hey step one should really be bring in a qualified team to perform an indoor air quality study is that is that a correct assumption Adam yes okay great thank you I also I also want to add one thing we should during these special times we’re in there’s there’s long lead times for a lot of the pieces like filters any sort of air cleaning devices so keep that in mind too that lead times can really dictate your your time schedule right now great great insight Jenna thanks very much a couple of other questions that are coming in um so thanks very much for sending these these in folks um if we’re considering replacing an HVAC system in one of our buildings what design enhancements should we be considering.

Yeah I can take that one um.

Well like we said before it’s not a one size fits all really depend on the building and the age of the systems and also the type of spaces so um and one thing I I think we didn’t get a chance to really talk through the IAQ assessment work and what how that might go but another part of that would be performing a risk assessment and providing um you know a tailored response to identify the high risk areas um but so if you’re going to replace the mechanical system you’ve identified you have a problem with the mechanical system um like we said before would be a holistic approach you really ought to be thinking about okay well it’s not just the mechanical system it’s not just the the air handler or the RTU and the ductwork it’s about the space and the occupants and the controls the controls is a big piece of it so we would suggest taking a step back and saying okay well what are the available funds to replace the system and how much how much can we get with that so for example you might even consider putting in a different type of system uh Jenna mentioned earlier that you know most of the applications um you know in these existing buildings are mixed air systems but depending on the space type maybe that’s not the right thing for you um you know over overhead mixing is common but depending on the spacing and social distancing and all that you might decide that underfloor air distribution or displacement ventilation is better and then back to the controls and that is a building wide typically a building wide issue but depending on type of control system you have you might decide to go ahead and replace the controls at the same time and if you can or if you have a good control system already putting in some enhanced system controls Jenna mentioned earlier about you know how you control your outside air that’s a really important thing and these are cheap things to employ if you have a you know somewhat of a sophisticated control system duct pressure reset demand control ventilation all these areas into the having an automatic building flush post and before and before occupancy so that it’s all automatic I think it would be better um and the other part would be energy recovery so let’s say you decide that one of the strategies you want to employ would be uh let’s go ahead and bump up our outside air sum then you might consider putting an energy recovery on from the exhaust side if if it’s convenient and you have the money um we would also suggest doing a detailed review we talked about the filtration a lot today obviously that’s something to focus on and try to get at least MERV 13 filters in your air hunting equipment and then two more points one would be looking at the distribution the air distribution to the spaces especially the high risk spaces and try to increase your air distribution effectiveness as much as you can to get air into all corners of the room and lastly look at air cleaning strategies so um you know Jenna talked earlier about on the room side again if you have room side air cleaners for high risk areas that’s a good strategy on the air side that’s back into the clean air calculation and whether that’s more cost effective than increasing your outside air or your filtration.

I think if I can make one comment on that um we need us really before you start because Adam’s brought up a lot of different ideas it’s really important that uh owner’s performance requirements document what are we trying to achieve in that space with that HVAC step back and really define those requirements so the right system can be identified with all that stuff that Adam just talked about good point thanks Michelle thanks Adam hey uh a clarifique pardon me a clarification to the earlier question um the inspection report that uh they’re interested in finding out you know what what’s most applicable are those that can be done by say an on-site maintenance tech right what kind of stuff could they be doing that would give an indication of um you know the the condition of the HVAC system does that does that help that does help yeah definitely we spend a lot of time today talking about the filters definitely doing a detailed assessment of that um taking pictures and you know you’re going to hire a consultant to help you that’s great but you can do a lot of the work that Jenna described with the maintenance staff and so.

I would say a lot of this investigation doesn’t necessarily have to be done by an engineer.

Okay great thank you for that one last question um and will probably be our last question as we’re coming up on time what is upper room UVGI okay so obviously I don’t know what that is and what type of applications are good candidates for employing that strategy I I’m I think that’s a question for the Newcomb and Boyd team yes so well let me describe what upper room UVGI is so and I actually should have said earlier we’ve got room side disinfection and we have system side disinfection and we’ve been careful today to talk about these air cleaning strategies because these are really two entirely different strategies um so this is on the room side and what that would mean is if you have a high risk area that is going to be densely occupied with people maybe like a dining area or a fitness room or a training room where people are going to be sitting close to each other and not the physical distancing um and maybe not wearing masks with COVID but even beyond COVID uh those are good applications for it now that what it is is it’s a it is a it’s a it’s a ceiling fan or a whole bunch of ceiling fans with UV up high in the room and it creates a kill zone up high in the room so it effectively cleans the room much like the portable air cleaners you’ve seen but more effectively so that if you are concerned about a very high risk area it’s a great application on the downside it costs money and there’s the aesthetic side so that’s why we’re saying it’s typically a good fit for dining areas or fitness rooms or training rooms with high ceilings because you’re going to have ceiling fans.

Okay very helpful Adam thanks very much um we are coming right up on time so I want to uh say thank you again to our panel and thank you to all of you who attended the webinar today um if you have questions um and we haven’t been able to answer them for you please send it to uh the email address you see there [email protected] if you’d like a copy of the presentation uh you can request it at the same email and and we will get it out to you again I want to thank our panel again or really appreciate your time and preparation and I want to thank all of you who attended and give you a reminder that our next webinar will be in June um stay tuned we look forward to you joining us again thanks very much everyone.

Reopen Responsibly with Pure Clean