Your Building and COVID-19
May 12, 2020

This week's SPECIAL EDITION newsletter topic: How Building Automation Systems Help Deter the Spread of Infection in Hospital Environments

Best Practices for Maintaining Healthy Airflows
Uhl Company works side by side with facilities staff to help make hospital environments safer for patients and staff. As a Schneider Electric Master-level  EcoXpert , we support building owners and portfolio managers in their efforts to automate their facilities and to integrate analytics into their building automation practices. We also advise building owners on methods for optimizing building operations during low-occupancy situations, such as the  15 steps outlined in this brochure by Schneider Electric .
Airflow systems are complex, and over the years, we have helped hospitals to implement the proper steps for maintaining the safety of their ventilation. We often recommend that our healthcare clients implement the following best practices:
  • Enhance your ability to log and trend data – Today’s building management systems have more memory available than ever before. More memory increases the system’s ability to compile more data. Better analysis of data allows hospital officials to offer regulators complete and detailed reports surrounding both the rate of air changes in rooms and the rate of energy consumption. Data analytics tools also help facilities staff to work with trending data in order to optimize building performance through data-driven system adjustments.
  • Engineer spaces to enable both positive and negative pressures – In some hospital rooms, positive air pressure (new air coming in) is a strict requirement. In an operating suite, for example, when an operation is occurring, up to 24 air changes per hour are required. Thus, every three minutes, all the air in the room must be completely turned over. In other hospital rooms, negative air pressure is required. Consider rooms that house soiled garments, scrubs, and devices that were used in surgery. Those are rooms that should be kept at a negative air pressure (no air leaves the room and enters nearby rooms). Precision ventilation systems operating without defect are required to maintain such positive and negative air flow conditions.
  • Perform regular maintenance – As fresh air comes in from outside of the building, it is mixed and filtered for contaminants. Then that air makes its way through duct work, moving across coils for heating, cooling, and humidification, through a series of filters, and then into the spaces where patients and staff reside. At the same time, inside air is removed and replaced with the new incoming air. Without proper preventative maintenance of these air distribution systems (including regular replacement of filters) building owners invite situations where the risk of airborne contaminates increases.

To learn more about how digitized building automation solutions can enable modernization and enhance  healthcare  airflow quality, visit the Schneider Electric  EcoStruxure ™ web site.

Want to see how Uhl Company, a Schneider Electric EcoXpert, is helping to drive building automation? Read more  here .

Tim Ley
Uhl Company
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