280 – Healthy Buildings with Brian Turner
Buildings IOT is a:
● System integrator
● Software developer
● Services provider for the built environment: Work spaces, play, and industrial buildings except housing.
In this episode we covered:
- What is a healthy building?
- Is it more than custodial work?
- Prior to COVID-19 people rarely talked about air quality
What is a healthy building?
A building that does not put people at risk of contracting a disease whenever they are in any section of it. Little was invested in knowing what keeps a building healthy especially in things that we cannot see like air and gases in it.
Is it more than custodial work?
Cleaning has been ramped up in most buildings due to the COVID-19 pandemic but air quality has still not been given the same attention. At Buildings IOT we monitor CO2, CO, and VOCs that people rarely know affect their air quality. You need data to monitor these gas levels.
Prior to COVID-19 people rarely talked about air quality
Air quality issues are often tackled at the design phase where tests are done before commissioning to ensure proper ventilation. Over time, adjustments are done upon requests or complaints to change air flow: Fan size, duct size, fan belt adjustments. These adjustments distort the entire ventilation system.
In some cases, the economizers are destroyed and minimum outdoor air levels are manually adjusted through guess work.
Why do we need these healthy buildings now more than before?
The reason has not changed. The awareness has. Things like good air quality in a work space sustains good productivity though it is difficult to measure it in dollar value. The average person expects good air quality but does not think about how it is achieved.
Companies such as airlines are using good air quality as a marketing tool because awareness has increased.
How do organizations ensure that they have a healthy building?
Focus on the basics including:
- Track the cleaning by documenting to show tenants that it is being done
- Automate (using sensors) to monitor: temperature, humidity, sound, lighting, and all different gas levels to make adjustments.
- Maintain the equipment
It is the employer’s responsibility to maintain a healthy building.
Can you outline the stages to a healthy building?
- Monitoring (sensors)
Monitoring the air quality and maintenance of the equipment provides data needed to find areas of focus. Without data you will be reacting to complaints. Stay ahead by aggregating different sources of data.
Are organizations still relying on time-based frequency to change filters or are they using differential pressure sensors?
Most are using time-based frequency which is often a manufacturer’s recommendation. Another challenge is the use of a switch which is often faulty and relies on a technician to adjust when they notice it. If they used transmitters, they’d get data and information on how often they need to change the filter or when a sensor is failing.
What technology is available to help with this?
- Building Management Systems
- Air handlers for small buildings
- Communication protocols going on different networks
However, none of these are connected to a CMMS. You need an integrator to transfer the data from the source to the reporting platform. We do not have a technology problem but we have a business problem. (What to invest in, finances, and users).
Is there anything we did not consider in this discussion?
Be aware of the choices you are making while picking amongst the technology available in the market especially:
- The feature it has that makes a difference to you
- The connection to the building: is it suitable?
- Connectivity- data security such as client’s indoor air quality information
- How do you know that the technology does what it is purported to be doing?
- Who is the vendor? How long will they be available?
- The reliability of the APIs provided
What is the one thing that makes the biggest difference in healthy buildings?
- Finding a partner who understands your business goals and values: better shopping environment, working environment, timeliness
- There are a series of things to do but make a healthy building part of your business strategy and culture.
Educate yourself on healthy buildings and how to select a partner. Learn through podcasts, white papers, consultation etc.
Brian Turner Links:
- Brian Turner Linkedin
- Can Healthy Buildings Really Improve Productivity?
- 5 Steps to a Healthy Building
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