Indoor Air Quality

Managing Indoor Air Quality During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) has been a hot topic of discussion lately as commercial businesses are tasked to balance health with business continuity for the foreseeable future.  With cooler months rolling in and less opportunity to utilize outdoor space, taking precautions to keep indoor air fresh for employees and customers will be paramount to navigating through the winter. ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning) has published the following guidelines to help business owners ensure their facilities are as safe as possible and minimize risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus:

 

ASHRAE Suggestions for Maintaining Indoor Air Quality

  • 2-hour air purge after space becomes unoccupied and before space becomes occupied
  • Disable DCV (Demand Control Ventilation)
  • Maintain indoor relative humidity between 40-60%
  • Open outside air dampers to maximum position while maintaining comfort
  • Upgrade filters to MERV-13 (or higher)
  • VAV systems: increase discharge air temperature to max to encourage VAV terminal unit dampers to open

Smart buildings can respond to unusual events or pandemics, like COVID-19, by leveraging technology to adapt facilities to these optimal conditions. Here are ways GridPoint’s technology can support air quality and ensure your buildings are following ASHRAE’s IAQ recommendations:

  • Air Circulation: GridPoint systems support multi-period advance scheduling that can run fans in ON mode with systems in OFF mode.
  • Humidity Management: It’s common practice to increase indoor humidity levels to reduce airborne viruses, but higher humidity can result in mold and other undesired outcomes.  GridPoint systems use humidity control algorithms that runs additional cooling to dehumidify the site and maintain comfortable yet safe indoor humidity.
  • Filter Recommendations: In accordance with ASHRAE standards, GridPoint recommends MERV-13+ air filters and suggest that filter replacement happens on a regular schedule.
  • UV-C Air Purification: GridPoint is currently working on a solution to add a 24-volt UV lamp in HVAC duct to purify the indoor air.

 

How Can You Manage Your IAQ on a Limited Budget?

If your business doesn’t have smart building technology, GridPoint offers service-based solutions, with no up-front costs, that can provide peace of mind during chaotic times like these. With health on the line, here are a few actions that can be taken immediately to minimize risk:

  • Create a schedule for changing your air filters (MERVE 13+ are great options)
  • Designate a team member to adjust the thermostat fans to ON as needed to ensure air circulation happens regularly
  • Invest in a device to measure relative humidity to ensure indoor levels are between 40-60%
  • Change minimum outdoor air damper settings on HVAC equipment to maximum position
  • Eliminate sources that can release contaminants in the space. According to the EPA this is the most cost-effective measure so double-checking for mold, asbestos, or emissions from equipment like gas stoves could be helpful.

Our team at GridPoint is here to help businesses adjust operations for the “new” normal of today and whatever that may be in the future.  Contact us today for more information: