As the world slowly begins to re-open in recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, people are more aware than ever before of the potential dangers they face as a part of virus transmission in their daily lives. At this time, facility management professionals are tasked with making the buildings where these people live, work, learn, and play safe in a very uncertain environment. So how do we prepare for the “new normal” we live in today?
There are a number of strategies facilities operators can employ when trying to mitigate virus transmission in their buildings, not the least of which involves adjusting how their facility runs by way of their building automation system (BAS). As your BAS partner, Computrols is here to support you in this effort.
Indoor Air Quality
Your HVAC control system is the key to improving your building’s overall air quality standards. With Computrols Building Automation Software, you are empowered to change your sequence of operations yourself, but we understand that this can be a daunting undertaking if you have a complex mechanical system.
By making programming changes to increase the amount of humidity and outside air, you may significantly increase air quality and prevent the advancement of the virus. To accomplish optimal indoor air quality (IAQ), you’ll need Carbon Dioxide sensors or people counters to ensure you know the number of air changes required for each space. The only limitation we have seen is that of the mechanical system not being designed to take in the prescribed amount of outdoor air. Based on the age of your building and where you are located, you may or may not run into this issue.
If you’ve given the idea of people gathering in large numbers in your facility much thought, you have probably considered the potential liability that lies ahead. As you may know, one way to alleviate this burden is to record absolutely every measure you have taken to reduce the chance for virus transmission. In Computrols Building Automation Software (CBAS), the platform already records histories on all points, all the time, from the time the system is installed. Depending on what new measures you are taking, you may consider tightening the parameters of these histories to get better resolution.
Some of the biggest touch points we have in buildings are door handles and buttons. Given the right door hardware that will allow for touchless entry, Computrols access control system will enable building occupants to have a touchless experience to get where they are going in your facility.
Visitor Management System
Computrols CBAS Web application provides a visitor management system that enables visitors to check-in and get approval from their host prior to getting to the building. Once the host approves a visitor, they are provided with a QR code which they can scan from their phone or print-out to access the building and floor of their host. This eliminates potential contact points with a tablet or binder to sign in at a security counter.
If you are not familiar with destination dispatch, this is a system that is used to optimize elevator traffic. There is a single screen in the elevator lobby that allows you to choose your floor, and the system groups people together using an algorithm to determine the most efficient way to get everyone where they are going. This eliminates large groups piling into a single elevator cab at the same time and allows property management to provide a single attendant to push the buttons at the lobby level.
By adding people counters to your Computrols Building Automation System, you can keep count of how many individuals are going in and out of a room, and therefore, limit the number of people allowed in at the same time. Rather than letting individuals decide how many is too many people for a space, you can predetermine how many people are allowed and lock the door after that limit is reached. We can also add a Storyboard screen outside the room to let people know what the capacity of the room is and how many people are currently in it.
Controlling UVC Lights
Some UVC lights in air handlers are set so that they can only turn on when the unit is running. This is a measure to help ensure the safety of building staff and service partners as ultraviolet light can be hazardous to humans. If this is not the case already, you may consider adding the light to your Computrols system and interlocking it with the chill water valve for the same purpose.
Our Storyboards solution was created out of a need to give occupants peace of mind that their building is clean and safe as they return from the COVID-19 Stay at Home Order. This is a public-facing dashboard that shares building data and gives brief explanations of what these data points mean and why they are important. It’s a perfect way to showcase the efforts and results of your facilities team in creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable. The primary use for Storyboards is to display live information on indoor air quality and cleaning regiments but other metrics can be easily added.