Quality Indoor Air Improves Worker Efficiency

Quality indoor air improves worker efficiency and, as we saw with the Express Scripts project, improving working conditions saves money and energy while increasing worker productivity. Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) published a study that examined the impact of quality indoor air on cognitive functions with heavy links back to workforce efficiency.

The participants were placed into controlled spaces that simulated conventional, green, and green+ conditions. EHP utilized nine different cognitive functionalities to test how the participants worked in the three spaces.

• Basic activity level (the ability to make decisions at all times)
• Applied activity level (the ability to make decisions geared towards overall goals)
• Focused activity level (the ability to pay attention to situations at hand)
• Crisis response (the ability to plan and stay prepared/strategize in emergency conditions)
• Information seeking (the ability to gather info as required from different sources)
• Information usage (the ability to use provided and gathered info towards goals)
• Breadth of Approach (the ability to make decisions along multiple dimensions and use a variety of options to obtain goals)
• Strategy (a complex thinking parameter, reflecting the ability to use well-integrated solutions)

The results revealed that, on average, cognitive scores were 61% higher in green spaces and 101% higher in green+ spaces when compared to the conventional space. The benefits beyond energy efficiency should also be taken into account when making your next equipment upgrade.

Why HVAC Measurement Verification and SubMetering is Important to Your Hospital

Hill York Hospital HVAC

Advanced Monitoring and HVAC Services for Florida Hospitals. –

Indoor air quality (IAQ) in a hospital impacts almost everything from the health of patients, to performance of sophisticated medical equipment, overall operational efficiency of the facility and cost of operation. In a cancer care hospital or medical center, where staff is dealing with compromised patient immune systems, regular HVAC services are particularly essential for maintaining good IAQ. High quality ventilation and filtration is required to ensure optimal performance of your hospital’s HVAC system. In addition, a Measurement and Verification (M&V) program using sub-metering will provide accurate data to determine HVAC usage by medical department across various buildings within hospital premises.

Florida’s unique weather conditions are very conducive to mold growth, spread of allergens and unhealthy humidity levels. Add to that the typical environment in a hospital and you have a whole spectrum of additional concerns like bacteria, toxins, air-borne pathogens, hazardous waste, and so on. Implementing an advanced monitoring system along with regular HVAC services is a wise choice for Orlando and Melbourne hospitals.

If left unattended your hospital HVAC system could develop several issues such as:
• Circulation of biological and volatile organic compound containments throughout the hospital
• Further risk to patient immune systems, especially in cancer hospitals
• Reduced efficiency and durability of diagnostic equipment, advanced treatment devices and other medical aid tools
• Increasing energy costs due to dirty filters and overrun compressors
• Immense repair costs to fix entire HVAC systems or vital pieces that could have been saved with proper servicing
• Risk or irreparable damage to in-house data center due to overheated computer systems

In order to ensure patient safety and reduce operating expenses, hospitals throughout south Florida can implement advanced IAQ and energy assessment technology to monitor and maintain HVAC systems. These wireless applications can diagnose and benchmark the comfort, energy and IAQ performance levels throughout the hospital; ultimately saving up to 20% in energy costs.

Florida Indoor Air Quality Issues in Hospitals

Melbourne, Florida hospitals have several indoor air quality areas that must be addressed on a daily basis:

• Preventing toxins, bacteria and containments from breeding and circulating throughout the facility
• Integrating HVAC elements into the hospital design to enhance the indoor air quality
• Identifying and removing containments from inside the hospital environment, thereby improving indoor environmental quality (IEQ)

In addition, Florida hospitals must also keep a close eye on energy expenses, creating a balancing act for many hospital managers.

Here’s an example of how this balance was achieved at a New York cancer hospital. The hospital manager knew that the facility could save significant money by installing the chiller plant cooling method, but had no way to track its performance or determine its effectiveness.

The hospital manager noted several issues such as:

• Free cooling not being used to maximum capacity
• Plant performance was not being tracked in real time
• Chillers were surging due to the lack of proper loading

By installing a real-time web based observation resource, UtiliVisor, the hospital was able to monitor utility use, HVAC control systems, alarms, equipment and also calculate total resource operating costs. The hospital was thus, able to accomplish several critical goals:

• Confirm that all HVAC systems were working properly and efficiently
• Create a historical database of performance information
• Track actual equipment performance
• Ensure accountability of mechanical services, mechanical and HVAC systems
• Access 24/7 tech support for HVAC service and maintenance

The end result allowed the hospital to maintain a highly efficient HVAC system, providing for continuous optimization. For the initial cost outlay of $217,000 the system paid for itself in less than 4 months, proving to be the most effective way to maintain and monitor HVAC operations of this magnitude.

Choosing an Air Conditioning Service Contractor

Your contractor should be more than an ancillary service company, particularly if you are a heath care facility. A partnership with an experienced air conditioning services company will help maintain IAQ and monitor energy expenses.

Before partnering with a service company, look for a few vital differentiators:

• Has a trusted reputation in your area as an air conditioner designer, installation and maintenance contractor
• Provides IAQ validation and reporting
• Is trained in HVAC measurement verification and sub-metering
• Presents a detailed energy saving strategy and ongoing scheduled hospital maintenance plan
• Employs licensed and trained professionals who can offer dynamic solutions to improved air quality and contamination control
• Guarantees 24/7 service repair response
• Offers prompt disaster recovery response before and after events