As businesses continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, providing employees and visitors with healthy, safe and flexible building environments is crucial to creating long-term resiliency. Industry leaders are tasked with making efficient updates to their building infrastructures that prioritize indoor air quality (IAQ) and safeguard the health of occupants. While building infrastructure improvements like updating HVAC systems and replacing ventilation filters are crucial first steps to providing clean air, businesses can take their healthy building strategy to the next level through intelligent integrations of HVAC and security systems.
Through Customization, No Two Healthy Buildings Look Alike
In the age of COVID-19, the ideal building environment looks a little different for everyone. Because of varying factors like location, the size of indoor spaces and the number of occupants, no two buildings’ risk of infection are the same, and as a result, no two strategies should be the same. What is constant is the need for their buildings to be actors in creating a safe and healthy environment. To do this, HVAC integrations can provide outcomes like an improved clean air delivery rate (CADR), a metric that provides facility managers with a clear measurement of how often a space’s volume of air is replaced. In addition, building owners also need to remain compliant with ASHRAE 62.1 standards to ensure they are achieving the proper ventilation rates necessary per their facility size and type. Building owners can reach these standards by investing in clean air solutions like upgraded air handling unit (AHU) controls, disinfecting ultraviolet C (UV-C) lighting, portable air filtration units, room pressure controls, emerging technologies such as bi-polar ionization and more..
There is no reason to limit the approach to clean air to HVAC systems, however. It is unlikely a single technology or solution will be the answer to a healthy environment. By connecting digital and physical building solutions within a single building automation system (BAS) interface, businesses have granular insight into their facilities’ overall health and compliance and can utilize all the systems within their building, allowing them to make informed decisions to protect occupants and employees. To further maximize their clean air initiatives, they can turn to security integration by implementing solutions such as access control or video surveillance.
Security Integrations to Achieve a Healthy & Flexible Space
Consider the role of video surveillance in monitoring spaces. Traditionally, video was considered important in detecting intruders and not much else. While video has proven invaluable to remote security teams during the COVID-19 pandemic (who now need to monitor minimally occupied buildings), video has become critical to creating healthy buildings when people are on-site as well.
One such example is video surveillance’s role in fever detection. Thermal imaging cameras can be integrated with existing video surveillance systems at strategic facility entry points. This integration provides businesses with seamless fever detection while removing the need for an individual to perform time consuming manual scanning procedures. As employees enter the building, these cameras automatically scan the crowd for any elevated temperatures. If a fever is detected, the solution automatically sends a notification to the appropriate personnel, enabling a swift response. Access controls can even automatically activate to disallow them from continuing into the building. By preventing a potentially ill individual from ever entering the facility, businesses can continue to maintain positive IAQ, and protect the overall health of their buildings and employees.
Businesses can also integrate social distance monitoring and contact tracing solutions with their existing video surveillance systems to further their infection control strategies. Leveraging AI capabilities, intelligent cameras can monitor occupants’ social distancing compliance, and send reminders to remain six feet apart if individuals remain in close contact for too long. While contact tracing solutions give security managers insight into where employees have been within the building, and who they have interacted with, should an individual test positive for COVID-19, managers can rapidly track their recent interactions and provide instructions for those who may have been impacted.
By integrating data-driven solutions like thermal cameras, social distance monitoring and contact tracing systems with existing video surveillance and access controls, security managers glean vital insight into the overall health of the building. Through intelligent integration, businesses can move towards a proactive strategy, rather than a reactive state.
Get Started On Your Healthy Building Initiative
For many facility managers, the road to a healthy facility can seem daunting, with plenty of obstacles to overcome. Sometimes, asking for help is the best way to get started. Working with a third party partner, businesses can analyze their budget, existing assets and building needs to identify the solutions and services that best support the goals they set. By performing an evaluation, a partner can measure their infection risk, locate any gaps in their existing infrastructure, make installations and integrations and even perform ongoing IAQ monitoring or remote security monitoring to help keep the facility minimally occupied. Through intelligent, data-driven integration, businesses can be empowered to enhance their clean air strategy and create healthy environments for the pandemic and beyond.