COVID-19 and future Public Health Crisis Response technologies, tools and legislation suggested by pros.
Counterpointe’s team is currently working with healthcare providers, engineers and energy services professionals to consider how current legislation may be expanded to help healthcare and other commercial facilities respond to COVID-19 and future public health crises. We have received feedback from a wide range of our partners regarding potential legislative changes, specific technologies and facility improvements that can assist in the response to COVID-19 as well as future responses. CounterpointeSRE does not represent that any one of the below product suggestions represents a complete solution, rather we are sharing a summary of submissions for the sake of industry discussion and consideration.
|Catalytic Air Cleaning Systems||CACS systems integrate technologies to effectively improve building indoor air quality using MERV 13 rated filters to remove a majority of 0.3 micron particles (and larger) as well as UV germicidal irradiation to kill various organisms in the airstream. Additional Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) can eliminate volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and small biologicals.||Trane TCACS|
|Bi-Polar Air Filters||Commercially available technology called Bi-Polar technology could be put in every air handling unit high occupancy facilities. Multiple vendors deploy similar technology. Global Plasma Solutions, Air Oasis, etc... a link to a case study brochure is provided here.||AirOasis, Airtech Equipment, Global Plasma Solutions|
|Portable HEPA Air Filtration||Portable HEPA air filtration machines used by the property damage mitigation industry could be deployed to help with the current public health crisis. Typically used for mold, asbestos or water damage mitigation to filter airborne microns, they can also be vented to create negative air. These should be deployed in hospitals, new emergency clinics, and temporary tent buildings to decrease air contaminants. Mitigation companies could deploy for revenue or goodwill.||Recommended as a product category|
|Adiabatic Humidification||There have been numerous studies (example here) on the effects of maintaining at least 40% RH (relative humidity) on reducing airborne disease/pathogen transmission. In addition, there has been extensive research into the effect of proper building humidification and its effect on worker productivity and call off rates.||Rip Kurrent: O2 Prime, Plasma Air, Global Plasma Solutions|
|Demand Response and Emergency Generator Systems||ECMs that reduce operational costs will help healthcare facilities to afford the additional goods and services required to respond to or prepare for health crises with less strain on financial resources. One example: 100% business continuity clean emission power generation to provide additional Peak KW Demand Savings, Demand Response and standby generation in the event power goes down.||Fully Automated Demand Response|
|On-site Chemical Generator||Existing tech is available now to reduce supply chain concerns: On-site chemical generators to provide disinfectant solution for potable water, cleaning in place and the control of waterborne pathogens (legionella, for example). Akin to "bleach-on-demand," the solution is made with water, salt and electrical current. It doesn't need dilution and is made on site. No shipping hazmat drums of chemical, no risk to healthcare support staff that need to dilute and use the product.||Earthwise Environmental|
|ECM Fan Arrays||Utilizing ECM fan arrays to lowers energy costs and build in redundancy. Healthcare facilities should ALWAYS have air moving for ventilation, dilution and air cleaning.||
|Remote ICU and ER Monitoring||Remote at home monitoring to clear ICU and ER of not critical personnel including remote command centers to help support and reduce surges with the ability to notify and potentially redirect nursing staff Rapid conversion of MOB and offsite non-critical care to critical care facilities in times of surge|
|Microgrids and Backup Power||Microgrids and CHP - Considering the possibility of a series of severe storms that were disrupting power to hospitals, and police and fire stations, during a health crisis, these capabilities would be critical. At present, hospitals are dealing with a significant surge, yet only have diesel generators to back up some critical applications, they would not be fully operational in the event of power loss.|
|Pathogen Abatement||Abatement service providers work with facilities teams across the U.S. to create clean, hygienic air handlers by abating pathogenic growth on interior surfaces as well as providing deep cleaning through coil restoration, removing biofilms that can harbor dangerous bacteria and viruses deep within the coils.|
|Disinfection and Remediation following short-term re-purposing||In concert with property re-purposing legislation recommended by, disinfection and sterilization services were recommended by respondents to our public health inquiry that included building components such as: AHU's, HEPA filters, and ductwork.|
|Waste to Energy Systems||Containerized waste-to-energy systems that can be permanently installed on hospital properties to convert organic waste streams, biomass, plastics, into hydrogen and/or electricity. These technologies involve a high temperature (over 1,000ºC) thermochemical process that degrades all organic molecules, including contaminated medical waste into an ultimate stream of primary gasses (H2, CO2, steam) and minimal inert ash. The system is contained, automated and scalable to the needs of a building or a single health facility.|
Legislative Measures for Consideration
CounterpointeSRE is a Commercial PACE provider. C-PACE legislation originally enabled PACE programs to provide for the long-term finance of clean energy and energy efficiency projects. Over the past 5-6 years policies have evolved to address a number of public goods including resiliency projects that provide resistance to fire, storm, and earthquakes. The below concepts describe suggested legislative responses from our partners recommended to provide a public good during the current public health crisis and/or future crises. As with the product considerations listed above, CounterpointeSRE does not represent that any one of the below legislative concepts is a complete or even feasible solution, we are merely sharing a summary of submissions for the sake of industry discussion and consideration.
|Hospitality Re-purposing: facilitation of social distancing and/or as treatment centers||
Temporarily re-purpose vacated and/or low occupancy hotels and motels to house mildly symptomatic COVID-19 (or future public health crisis populations). Allows separation from healthy asymptomatic family members thereby reducing the likelihood of infecting healthy family members under the same roof.
Any hospitality property designated for management of COVID-19 patients (or those of a future public health crisis) would be vetted by a qualified Federally designated team. This would determine facility focus - whether the facility houses asymptomatic potential carriers, symptomatic patients, emergency care providers as well as staff protection (PPEs) and testing: Funding for use of facility, personnel, support and treatment to be provided through federal agencies. Strategy would include post-re-purposing measures should require the replacement of AHU's, HEPA filters, ductwork etc. to ensure consumer protection and sterilization.
|Increase Air Quality Standards||
Establish stricter indoor air quality standards and measurements to mitigate the airborne transfer of various viruses.
It should be noted that suggestions included the requirement of active technologies to eradicate viruses and bacteria in the spaces. With certain technologies, ions actually enter the space and eradicate viruses and bacteria in the air and on surfaces.
Additional suggestions regarding air quality included the deployment of PACE and similar incentives/funding to support upgrades to indoor air quality devices and BAS systems to monitor air quality in commercial buildings, particularly schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities with large populations of vulnerable populations.
|PACE extension to cover humidification technologies||
Implementation of bi-polar ionization and adiabatic technologies is already allowed (and encouraged) by ASHRAE/IECC standards and the associated building codes. However, their adoption hasn't been prolific due to their upfront/ongoing cost. PACE allows for an excellent mechanism to offset/defer the first cost of these technologies. In the case of bi-polar ionization, direct energy savings can easily be calculated based on the allowed reduction in code required outdoor air CFM. This is in addition to the additional benefits of improved IAQ and reduced maintenance costs associated with cleaning HVAC equipment coils and drain pans. Humidification has always been viewed as a nuisance technology for building operators. In many cases, legacy isothermal steam humidification technologies were expensive to operate and maintain; as a result, unless required (i.e. certain areas of hospitals, rare artifact archival storage, etc.) humidification not typically implemented. Recent advancements in adiabatic humidification have broken down many of those barriers, but can be expensive to retrofit or install on new projects. If there is a way to leverage PACE to allow building owners to deploy PACE toward the adoption of adiabatic humidification technology, there will be a benefit to public health.
PACE or Federal grant funding to extend to surge management technologies, staff and training. Eased rules for temporary conversion of non-hospital facilities to critical care facilities i.e. nursing homes, MOB, Med office. Federal grant funding for the conversion and training of facilities to support temporary critical care surge environments.
|Enhanced Building Codes for Essential Businesses||
Looking beyond this pandemic, the various "stay at home" and "shelter in place" policies have prompted overdue thinking about what really counts as an "essential" use for a community -- especially housing and the food and healthcare supply chains. This should support calls for enhanced building code provisions for wind, earthquake, and other perils for buildings that are currently assigned only to Risk Category II. Current work by NIST and FEMA on these topics of "re-occupancy" and "functional recovery" might lead to code change proposals that industry should support.
The below firms and contacts have agreed to make themselves available for discussion of the implementation of suggested technologies and building infrastructure elements that can aid in a response to the present or future public health crisis.
|Independent Business Consultant||Assisting owners and developers with HVAC and energy challenges through a matrix of technical solutions and financial options.||Tim White|
|Heritage Institute of Sustainability||Engineering services, including but not limited to energy management, indoor air quality, solar power systems, power quality and harmonic firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Consolidated Energy Design, Inc.||Energy Conservation and patented Smart Micro Grid technologies including clean emissions Distributed Generation for 100% Business Continuity.||Rey Montalvo|
|Earthwise Environmental||Water Treatment Technology and Services||Nicole McCann|
|RipKurrent||Design and implementation of engineered solutions to improve Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and efficiency.||Matt Green|
||Full HVAC support for Design Engineers, Contractors, Owner's and end users throughout the HVAC landscape serving All of Michigan||Jeffrey Royston|
|Redaptive||Energy efficiency financing and capital program management||Ian Larson|
|Va. Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy||The primary goal of the Division of Energy is to advance sustainable energy practices and behaviors.||Daniel Farrell|
|Aquis Solutions||Air Handler Renewal||Christine Parrington|
|Xemplar Power & Energy Solutions
||Project Development : Energy Efficiency & Renewables, Energy Procurement, PACE finance Developer, RCFA & FMEA and Third Party Verification||Tarique J. Rashaud|
|CleanFinancing||A CounterpointeSRE correspondent, matching funders to projects and projects to funders, we operate as a funder-agnostic agency looking to accelerate the speed of funding for environmental and structural improvements.||Philippe Hartley|
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