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The following recommendations are provided courtesy of ATS Automation. This information is provided as guidance only and we encourage building operators to use their judgment and information about their specific facility and region before making any changes. 

While business as usual is still a ways off, there are many actions you can take now that will benefit your current and future facility operations. Below we have compiled recommended activities to ensure your building automation and control system is kept performing optimally.

Suggested HVAC Control Actions For Essential Facilities
For buildings that are still open and operational during “stay at home” orders, following social distancing principles, handwashing and surface disinfection remain the essential safeguards against the spread of COVID-19. After ensuring the basics for your facility, there are several HVAC Control related actions you can take to help safeguard your tenants and building. The following information was adapted from the CDC and ASHRAE Journal.

  • Increase outdoor air ventilation rates
  • Disable demand-controlled ventilation (DCV)
  • Open minimum outdoor air dampers, as high as 100%
  • Keep systems running longer hours, if possible 24/7, to enhance the two actions above
  • Install high-efficiency air filters
  • Consider portable room air cleaners with HEPA filters
  • Consider UVGI (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation), in high-risk spaces

References: Schoen, L. J. (2020, March 24). Guidance for Building Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic. U.S. Department of Labor. (2020). Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19. Washington D.C.: US Government.

Focus on your Facility’s 3 S’s
The “stay at home” orders in effect and the resulting unoccupied commercial facilities provide an opportunity for building managers & operators to review the 3 S’s (setpoints, schedules & sequences) of their building management & control system to ensure efficiency and optimal performance. During this shutdown, consider reviewing and correcting the following items (as needed):

Setpoints: Check your building temperature setpoints to ensure none are set too high or too low. Review any outliers and correct them as needed. Document your facility’s setpoint standards for all building operators and vendors to reference.

Schedules: Review your current facility’s operating schedule and ensure it conforms with your COVID-19 facility usage. Document and review your regular operating schedules to ensure your facility only runs during the needed hours once your building is back to normal status.

Sequences: Review system operations to ensure the actual needs of your tenants are being reflected and that your documentation reflects current operating standards.

Service Recommendations from ATS
In addition to reviewing your facility’s schedules, setpoints, and sequences, now is an opportune time to address many of the tasks that may get ignored during busy times. ATS has compiled a list of additional items that we can address at your facility that will promote proper operation and prepare your site for the future. Consider the following tasks to perform at your facility:

  • Document building automation server specifications for easy reference and updating
  • Audit all site alarms, remove nuisance alarms and focus on what is important to operators
  • Audit DDC code files for accuracy and backup purposes
  • Review and update device manager table labels
  • Review and update network riser diagrams
  • Document site-specific controls related processes
  • Update facility control drawings
  • Develop or update facility disaster prevention planning

About ATS
ATS
, established in 1986, specializes in custom engineered and installed Building Automation Systems control solutions for buildings’ mechanical and electrical systems, allowing owners to reduce energy consumption and maximize effectiveness of facilities management personnel. ATS has offices and provides services in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Alaska. Contact your local ATS representative to find out how you can start running your building more efficiently and economically. Visit www.atsinc.org to find the location near you.

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