As offices prepare to reopen across India, buildings are the new front in the fight against COVID-19. Yesterday, the building intelligence company, 75F, has announced 75F Epidemic ModeTM, a new HVAC software sequence that ensure commercial buildings are healthier while keeping employees and customers safe. The system features various components such as indoor air flushes, where post working hours the entire air within the premises is replaced with fresh air from outside and during office hours ventilation from outside is increased to limit movement of airborne particles and reuse of indoor air. All these are based on the latest guidance from scientists, government organizations, and global industry leaders such as ISHRAE which has been adopted by the Indian Government, ASHRAE and the CDC.
Recent studies show the spread of COVID-19 appears to be occurring through airborne transmission of aerosols, particles 1-5 microns in size which cannot be reliably filtered out using a MERV-13 or HEPA filter. While much of the focus is on droplets 100-1000 microns in size produced by coughing or sneezing, a large quantity of aerosolized infectious particles are also produced, and are more likely to be produced by asymptomatic individuals or those who do not know they are infected simply from breathing or speaking. A recent study showed that more than 1000 of these virus-containing aerosols are emitted every minute of speaking, more proof that without dilution ventilation from outside air, buildings have a high risk of viral build-up and exposure.
In response to this, various organisations such as ISHRAE (Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers), ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers) and the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) have released new guidelines for the operation and control of HVAC systems to reduce disease transmission from infectious airborne particles and ensure a safe and healthy workplace.
The 75F Epidemic ModeTM achieves the directives through its specific application profiles; Smart PurgeTM and Smart Enhance VentilationTM.
75F Smart PurgeTM
75F’s Smart Purge™ application profile works in pre- and post-occupancy settings and fully adheres to ISHRAE, ASHRAE recommendations to prevent re-circulation of air and to purge the air before and after occupancy.
75F Smart Enhanced VentilationTM
This profile ensures the indoor environment remains as safe as possible during a building’s occupied period and reduces risk of infection from aerosolized particle.
Apart from minimizing viral loads in buildings the 75F Epidemic ModeTM also delivers significant energy savings. Increasing ventilation from 20% outside air to 90% outside air can normally lead to a high energy bill, but with the 75F Epidemic Mode profiles, concentration of infectious airborne particles is reduced while energy consumption is minimized.
“The world is in the midst of a pandemic with so many unknowns, where the brightest minds are developing innovative ways to modify their businesses and 75F Epidemic Mode does that for the commercial building industry,” said Deepinder Singh, CEO and Founder of 75F.
“Being able to give companies and their employees some peace of mind that their facilities managers are taking the initiative to make their environments safe and healthy is extremely important and we believe will become the norm even when the outbreak is over”, adds Gaurav Burman, APAC President of 75F.
Epidemic ModeTM is updated by 75F as guidelines from these organisations evolve or new data emerges. This means it offers the most current sequences that minimize operating expense and viral transmission, while improving indoor air quality (IAQ) and energy efficiency. Furthermore, 75F Epidemic ModeTM does not require any manual programming and there is no risk of equipment damage from running the system outside typical parameters.
Apart from minimizing operating expense the 75F Epidemic ModeTM also delivers significant energy savings. Increasing ventilation from 20% outside air to 90% outside air can normally lead to a high energy bill, but with the 75F Epidemic Mode profiles, concentration of infectious airborne particles is reduced while energy consumption is minimized.
75F offers the only system on the market today currently implementing these healthy buildings measures, which are available free of charge to all customers in office buildings, retail businesses, schools, restaurants, and apartment buildings. Once the pandemic is controlled, 75F technology will allow facility managers to easily, and remotely, disable these measures, with a return to 75F’s award-winning algorithms to improve the comfort of occupants.