ProControl BSG

Healthy Building Environments

Data Driven Building Environment Management

Special Response to Covid-19

Buildings can act as a catalyst to the Covid-19 pandemic. Mitigation efforts focus on HVAC, air delivery, space environmental, and operation feedback. ProControlBSG offers a comprehensive response to Covid-19 mitigation by creating a healthy building environment.

Our work specializes in space conditions, indoor air quality and delivery, IAQ performance indicators and HVAC alerts, through continuous management. Buildings are connected to and run through our cloud AI services.

Learn more about the building health process here. Contact Bill Gouette - ProControlBSG
3D print of a spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes COVID-19 - shown in front of a 3D print of a SARS-CoV-2 virus particle. Credit: NIHLearn more about IAQ

Solutions

Products

Outside air optimization; healthy environment generation; virus protection; environmental sensing; frontend management; gas phase filtration; equipment performance optimization; demand controlled ventilation; BiPolar ionization, UV-C protection; Energy Star tracking.

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Skills

Air balancing; environmental mitigation; measurement & verification; adjustment & calibration; controls for health, comfort, and energy; web-based documentation.

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Support

Supervised continuing real-time support, equipment long-term operating feedback and alerts, space environmental sensing and management; equipment energy tracking and demand management.

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Guidance

Infectious Disease Mitigation

The potential for airborne transmission of disease is widely recognized, although there remains uncertainty concerning which diseases are spread primarily via which route, whether it be airborne, short range droplets, direct or indirect contact, or multimodal (a combination of mechanisms).

ASHRAE has recognized that the UV-C wavelength inactivates virtually all microorganisms living on HVACR surfaces with a kill ratio of 90 percent or higher, depending on UV-C intensity and length of exposure.

Transmission Issues

Exposure through the air occurs through (a) droplets, which are released and fall to surfaces about 1 m (3 ft) from the infected and (b) small particles, which stay airborne for hours at a time and can be transported long distances. The aerobiology of droplet transmission and small particles directly influence patients with acute infection and space occupants. Social distancing is significantly restricted in relatively crowded space environments.

Coronavirus nuclei float in space environments and can be captured and inactivated in protected HVAC systems.

Ventilation Practices

Ventilation and airflow are effective for controlling transmission of certain diseases. Building ventilation based on code and best practices if often not enough. Ventilation and airflow strategies take on more importance in managing space environmental conditions. Upgrading ventilation methods is an important first step to improving space occupant conditions.

Ventilation ductwork impacts air distribution for comfort and, more recently recognized, healthy space environments.

Practical Implications

Small particles may be transported through ventilation systems, as has been documented for tuberculosis, Q-fever, and measles. Therefore, when breakouts occur in the workplace, classroom, or office, transmission through HVAC systems must be considered. As disease transmission by direct contact, fomite, and large-droplet routes is reduced by prevention strategies (hand washing, surface cleaning), the airborne route becomes more important.

Influenza transmission occurs not only through direct contact or large droplets, as is the long-standing public health tradition, but also through the airborne route. Newer data suggests HVAC systems contribute far more both to transmission of disease and can, inversely, to reduction of transmission risk.

Transmission and control of viruses via infectious droplets and aerosols in indoor environments.

Mitigation

HVAC

Heating and air conditioning system maintenance and adjustments noticeably improve equipment performance. But does the maintenance touch on key components as expected? Change maintenance from conventional methods to those that focus on health as well as equipment performance. Move up a notch and use multiple space sensor monitoring to ensure optimized performance.

Space

Space conditions depend on air delivery, filtration, and effective distribution. Air diffusers vary in their ability to induce air movement and create a more uniform space environment. Consider the impact of air delivery not just for occupant comfort but also occupant health. Capture aerosols effectively and move them to the air handler for remediation. Diffuser upgrades can make a difference to healthy conditions.

Measurement

System measurements use air balancing and delivery to improve circulation and droplet entrainment. Prime operating conditions are not easily understood using complex scientific graphs. Move up comprehension to the next level using better interactive graphics that do not rely on manually captured data to a spreadsheet. Look back in time, for weeks, months, or years, to better grasp the impact of HVAC operation. Capture this data in fast databases, and query it using interactive graphics.

Controls

System runtime depends on effective temperature controls. This technology is well understood. But the ability to grasp variable relationships continues to dog these systems. It's not enough to see current temperatures or pressures. Instead values like these need to be understood in context. The ability to view and understand key performance parameters, especially as they relate to other variables, is key to success. Simple BAS graphics is only a starting point.

Measurement

HVAC

  • Air Performance

  • Refrigeration Performance

  • Outside Air

  • Building Pressurization

Details matter. The ability to see performance numbers, in context and corrected for outside air conditions, is now a given. Use the contribution of better sensors for better results and understanding of equipment and space operation. Combine that with equipment performance for better understanding. Use generated alerts to initiate action.

Space

  • Pressurization

  • Return Air

  • Distribution

Better graphics leads to better understanding or building and space performance. Interactive graphics allows you drag your mouse to see multiple variables over extended time periods easily. The days of single variable plots are over. Instead, it's now possible to see the relationships between multiple variables at a glance - even on your smartphone.

Technology

  • Measurement

  • Verification

  • Instruments

  • Networking

Technology has improved beyond simple temperature and humidity sensing. CO2 has evolved as a go-to method for measuring outside air delivery to the space. But today's technology moves beyond these sensors and has evolved to dust particle count as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Combine this technology with light and audio sensing to have a full understanding of individual space environmental conditions.

Space

Air Delivery

  • To Space

  • From Space

Air supply and return ductwork is often assumed to be functional per specs. But that isn't a given for many buildings. Air measurements at diffusers and return grilles are often a requirement to assure that air is delivered and returned properly. Measurement is a specialized skill leveraging both training and experience.

Circulation

  • Air Flow

  • Diffusers & Grilles

  • Induced Air

  • Blockages

Room air circulation depends on air handler performance in combination with supply diffusers capable of inducing surrounding air to entrain particles. Subtle air blockages diminish room air performance. Each room's air flow needs to be evaluated for effectiveness in combination with air handler delivery.

Particle Movement

  • Droplet Nuclei

  • Circulation & Capture

Viruses are contained in droplets. Larger droplets tend to fall within a few feet. Small droplets tend to evaporate quickly, especially in dry (winter) air with low relative humidity. Capturing viruses (droplet nuclei) within the air stream, using effective space air flow, is important to returning them to the air handler for inactivation. Relative humidity has measurable impact on droplet evaporation. Higher humidity (> 40%) has been shown to reduce droplet nuclei formation.

Feedback

  • Sensors

  • Indirect Measurements

Effectiveness uses direct feedback sensors and indirect measurement of related space conditions. The process extends for days, weeks, and months. Feedback evaluation uses data collected over long time periods and delivered in the form of charts. But, in a twist, feedback also includes human sensing in the form of sound/noise and VOCs - direct and indirect measures of space conditions. Leverage modern technology to better manage space conditions.

Air

Delivery

  • To Space

  • From Space

Air delivery to the space determines temperature comfort, while providing an opportunity to capture dust particles and floating viruses (droplet nuclei). Constant volume air supply has consistent delivery while variable air volume (VAV) systems alter air flow as a function of comfort conditions. Return air often is an afterthought but can significantly reduce supply air effectiveness. Better VAV systems deliver the right amount of outside fresh air throughout the entire occupied period - not just at peak cooling hours.

Circulation

  • Measurements

  • Practices

Many systems need rebalancing to adjust air flow to meet current interior space and fresh air needs. Air measurement is a learned skill using high-accuracy instruments. Proper circulation determines the ability of air to pick up small particles and move them to air handler filtration. Room environment is more than temperature and humidity - it's also air movement.

Technology

UV-C

  • Effectiveness

  • Use in Hospitals

  • Use in HVAC

Ultraviolet light at the germicidal wavelength of 250 - 280 nanometers alters the genetic (DNA) material in cells so that bacteria, viruses, molds, algae and other microorganisms can no longer reproduce. The microorganisms are considered dead, and the risk of disease from them is eliminated. UV-C offers a new way to deal with environmental space conditions.

Ionic

  • Effectiveness

  • Limitations

  • Use in HVAC

Negative air ions (NAI) have been discovered for more than 100 years. Studies show that NAIs have multiple health benefits and inhibit the growth or kill some microorganisms. NAIs are show to be highly efficient at remove ultrafine particles (PM2.5), especially during haze episodes. NAI offers the best opportunity to deal with unseen space particulate.

Feedback

Devices

  • Awair

    • Temperature

    • Humidity

    • CO2

    • TVOCs

    • Find Dust (PM2.5)

    • Ambient Light (Omni)

    • Ambient Noise (Omni)

Space sensing has evolved. Use a combination sensor to gather environmental information that affects occupants. Take action, through more targeted equipment and space maintenance, to improve space conditions, and measure the results. Where CO2 was the defacto measurement, now there are other sensors, combined into a single device, capable of pointing to potential equipment and space operating issues.

Modern devices also leverage WiFi communications. The ability to sense many variables over a single communications link, impacts installation costs.

Awair Omni
Awair Element

Continuous

  • Data Logging

  • Analysis & Alerts

  • Graphing

Today's BAS installations focus on immediate equipment operation and local space conditions. But it's not enough. Transition to extended monitoring and long-term analysis to better understand system conditions. Then use intelligent alerts to warn of operating issues.

Controls

Technology

  • Existing

  • New

BAS controls use time-tested methods for operating valves, dampers, and fan speeds. The industry knows how to do temperature control. But a separate focus is needed to maintain healthy building environments. Supplement traditional controls with healthy environment monitoring and recommendations (alerts). Move up by using space environmental analysis to better manage HVAC equipment and space healthy conditions.

Protocols

  • BACnet

  • MQTT

Communication protocols have evolved. Traditional twisted pair BACnet is cable-based. But MQTT, the Internet of Things (IoT) protocol, skips twisted pair and runs directly on WiFi and Ethernet. Modern communications offers advantageous over traditional methods including location flexibility. Leverage WiFi to bypass BAS methods and connect beyond twisted pair.

Special Response to Covid-19

Buildings can act as a catalyst to the Covid-19 pandemic. Mitigation efforts focus on HVAC, air delivery, space environmental, and operation feedback. ProControlBSG offers a comprehensive response to Covid-19 mitigation by creating a healthy building environment.

Our work specializes in space conditions, indoor air quality and delivery, performance indicators and alerts, through continuous management.


Contact: info@procontrolbsg.com