Have you considered what it’s going to take to re-open your office locations? Really soon, we will hopefully return to a sense of ‘normalcy’ and back to our businesses and workplaces. Over these last few months, we have sheltered in place, focused our attention on disinfecting surfaces, and minded our hand-washing regiment to hopefully flatten the curve to keep ourselves and those around us safe from COVID-19. Oregon, by most reports, has experienced far fewer reported cases of the illness and deaths due to the measures taken by individuals, government officials, and business owners. To all fellow Oregonians, we thank you for your continued efforts to help protect us all!
As you consider and prepare the next steps to return to your workplaces and ask your employees, tenants and customers to do the same, we want to make sure that we’re a resource to you as you navigate that process to restart your office environment. Preparing your workplace to have employees return is not solely a janitorial and cleanliness exercise, but involves a much greater consideration of all things affecting the comfort and safety of your building and work areas.
Things to consider based on the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommendations include:
- Increase outdoor air ventilation (use caution in highly polluted areas); with a lower population in the building, this increases the effective dilution ventilation per person.
- Disable demand-controlled ventilation (DCV).
- Further open minimum outdoor air dampers, as high as 100%, thus eliminating recirculation (in the mild weather season, this need not affect thermal comfort or humidity, but becomes more difficult in extreme weather).
- Improve central air filtration to the MERV-13 or the highest compatible with the filter rack, and seal edges of the filter to limit bypass.
- Keep systems running longer hours, 24/7 if possible, to enhance the two actions above.
- Change thermostat settings to allow fans to run longer and open economizers for additional air exchange.
- Consider portable room air cleaners with HEPA filters.
- Consider UVGI (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation), protecting occupants from airborne microorganisms, especially in high-risk spaces such as waiting rooms.
- If air transfer between offices or work areas is a concern, considering re-routing duct-work to ensure more efficient airflow
Reitmeier strives to be a business partner with you and help in any way possible. As you attempt to get back to running your business, jobs, customers and relationships, please let us know how we can help make your work spaces safer and more comfortable. We want to help with any questions you might have, and ensure that your HVAC system is cleaned, serviced and ready to go when your business is ready to return to regular operations. Our driving mission is to bring balance to your environment and we at Reitmeier hope to be a resource in the coming weeks, however we can.