COVID-19 HVAC RCx

WES engineers are happy to review your facility to help determine whether a retrocommissioning project would be beneficial.  Feel free to contact us to discuss your specific project.  In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, WES may be able to offer your organization reduced cost services to allow you to improve HVAC system function specifically to target reduced potential for COVID-19 transmission.

What is retrocommissioning (RCx)? Over time, building HVAC systems experience operational changes that may come from system modifications, maintenance, replacements of equipment, operator overrides of setpoints, or changing performance of aging equipment. All of these factors cause equipment operation that is different from the intended original design, and may cause inefficient operation or issues with the HVAC system adequately conditioning the space it serves. Additionally, changes in building use from the original design may also contribute to issues with performance of an existing HVAC system.  Retrocommissioning of HVAC systems includes a complete evaluation of the operating HVAC system to determine any areas which need to adjustment or modification to meet performance goals for the facility as well as provide efficient operation to the greatest extent possible.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, HVAC retrocommissioning has a particular importance with regard to the air quality control in conditioned spaces. Specifically, outside air ventilation rates and focus on airflows between pressurized zones are of critical importance to minimize the potential risk of virus transmission within the occupied spaces. ASHRAE and CDC guidelines for ventilation and building airflow evaluations should be followed to ensure proper indoor air quality. It is also worth noting that the HVAC system adjustments which will introduce more outside air ventilation and pressurize specific building zones may cause higher energy consumption, and should be set as a “Pandemic Mode” in any building automation system so that normal building operation can be resumed once the risk of COVID-19 transmission is sufficiently low. 

The following are links to important guidelines for facility managers to follow. 

ASHRAE Guidelines for Building Readiness for COVID-19 Reopening

CDC Office Building Guidelines including Ventilation

CDC School Guidelines including Ventilation