By: Doug Bevill on July 28th, 2020
With COVID–19, Indoor Air Quality Is No Longer an Option but a Life-Saving Necessity
In my current position with the nation’s leading construction information platform, ConstructConnect, I am in the unique position to see what building products are being promoted to the nation’s top architects, engineers, and contractors.
But, as a former building product executive for an HVAC company that specialized in energy recovery ventilators (ERVs), I am now seeing a focused interest and paramount need for quality air in office buildings, living spaces, and schools. For HVAC companies, the value proposition has always been twofold: Real long-term savings from unparalleled efficiency and best-in-class Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
Since the beginning of 2020, we have entered an unprecedented time with COVID-19. The nation and world are faced with a life-threatening global health pandemic, an airborne contagion that we have not seen in our lifetime. Before we can contemplate going back to full capacity in restaurants, schools, indoor arenas, etc., we need to think differently about the air we breathe and how to best remove airborne pathogens (especially COVID-19) that threatens us, our economy, and our overall way of life.
Energy Recovery Technology
Energy recovery technology has been around for well over 30 years now and in the commercial construction space has been utilized mostly in institutional buildings like healthcare, and to a large extent newly constructed and retrofitted public schools and a wide range of colleges and universities.
Because the nature of private construction is driven by short-term investment, with a typical ownership cycle of some five years, the first cost aspect of energy recovery technology was a profitability roadblock for the original builder/owner with not much of a value proposition to the second or third buyer to pay a premium for a building with better IAQ.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed that kind of thinking. Energy recovery has always provided a healthier indoor air environment for any building with major cost savings over the long term, acknowledging it takes more than five years to make up for the initial investment. Now, as bars and restaurants, offices, and schools strive to open safely, building owners are appreciating the importance to the economy of having spaces with ERVs that now, more importantly, provide superior quality air.
Building Safer Buildings by Improving Indoor Air Quality
Today, with COVID–19 being here and the reality of new pandemic viruses on the horizon, the need for quality air in buildings is no longer a short-term build it and flip it value proposition, but a requirement for saving lives, educating our children, and ultimately the restoration of American and global economic health, so that we can once again live and move around safely.
Air quality in buildings is essential to keeping the economy up and running. The days of traditional HVAC systems that keep contaminated air recirculating in public buildings and homes should be coming to an end. It was never an optimal health situation and now it has been proven deadly.
This coronavirus for the most part is airborne, with health experts referring to it as an aerosol that can linger and move throughout a room for up to 30 minutes. The very purpose of energy recovery technology is to remove contaminates as well as heat and cool the air by routinely exhausting the contaminated air and taking in, cleaning, and distributing fresh outside air.
Energy recovery units come in a variety of sizes with the traditional unit of measure for a building being the amount of cubic feet per minute (CFM), with large commercial units up to several hundred thousand CFM, to residential and small commercial equipment as small as 50 CFM. It is the most renewable and environmentally friendly of all HVAC systems and now critical to our long-term physical and economic well-being.
With over 30 years of industry experience, Doug Bevill - Vice President at ConstructConnect, specializes in consulting with building product manufacturers on general strategy and optimal ways to leverage ConstructConnect’s best-in-class construction information and other marketing solutions to run their businesses.
Prior to joining ConstructConnect, Doug held executive positions with FläktGroup SEMCO, a leading manufacturer on energy recovery technology; The Hager Companies, a global door hardware manufacturer; and is the past president of BIMobject Inc., a global construction technology company.