Cx Associates is a mission driven engineering firm, applying concrete solutions to complex problems. A subset of these problems requires solutions that are a lot less tangible than the engineering solutions we seek to implement every day. Take climate change, for example. While the symptoms of climate change are real-world and concrete (rising sea level, measurable increase in extreme weather events that can be charted and graphed), the solutions to climate change are often conceptual and fraught with uncertainties. There is plenty of research to suggest that humanity has the technical solutions to climate change well within its tool belt. The uncertainly lies in application. What does a carbon-free transportation system look like? What’s the right mix of electric and public transportation and bike riding? How will populations be impacted when these changes mold habits and limit choices?
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Last June Cx Associates, along with many other businesses nationwide, openly and emphatically stated our support of Black Lives Matter and recognized the immense amount of work we as individuals, a company, business community, and society need to do to address and dismantle systemic racism. It’s been a long and challenging year on many levels since then, but Cx Associates has made it a priority not to let those challenges hinder our commitment to pursuing justice and equity for all. We’re dedicated to transparency and accountability in this process, and we plan to continue to update our network of clients, partners, and friends on our progress.
Topics: Social Responsibility Equity DEI
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Two weeks ago, Cx Associates made a donation to COVAX, the vaccine procurement and supply operation led by UNICEF to ensure “global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines”. By joining UNICEF’s Humanitarian Circle, the donation will support UNICEF’s campaign to secure two billion COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered to over 180 countries worldwide. Cx Associates was compelled to act swiftly and support this cause, recognizing that health for everyone, everywhere is imperative to justice and equity.
Topics: Social Responsibility COVID-19 Equity
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Cx Associates was obviously not alone in shutting down our main office in Burlington, Vermont in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States. Employers across the country shut down their offices and told their employees to work from home for the foreseeable future. Last summer, Cx Associates took measures in our office to enable a slow (and optional) return to working in the office – we constructed plastic barriers between workstations, installed HEPA air filters at each desk, and mandated mask use when not at one’s desk. But one year later, we are still very much a distributed team; we have one employee who already worked remotely, and many others who either prefer to work from home when possible and/or are not yet comfortable going back to the office.
Topics: technology COVID-19 coronavirus remote
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A while back, we ran out of freeze spray, an essential tool we use for functional testing. I was about to order some new bottles, when Matt Napolitan suggested I pick a brand with a low global warming potential (GWP). Great idea! Although I'm generally quite aware of sustainability issues, I confess I probably wouldn't have thought about this; I would have just purchased the same brand we had ran out of. So, I wanted to share this quick story about the impact that seemingly small decisions can have on greenhouse gas emissions.
Topics: Sustainability Climate Change
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Cx Associates has posted several blogs about an HVAC systems’ contribution to keeping building occupants as safe as possible from the COVID-19 virus. But for some building owners and tenants, understanding what they have for an HVAC system and what they can do to make their systems better isn’t immediately known without some help from experts in this industry.
Topics: COVID-19 ventilation indoor air quality
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Over the past several months, it has been proven that HVAC systems play a role in the mitigation of the spread of a virus like COVID-19. The first line of defense – personal masking and social distancing – is by far the most effective in mitigation, but we’ve learned a lot about HVAC’s contribution to keeping people safe indoors. My last blog covered the why & how of ventilation (fresh air). In this blog I want to focus on ventilation control strategies: why & how the industry evolved from pre-pandemic minimalization, to early-pandemic wind tunnel 24/7, to a common sense, balanced approach on ventilation control.
Topics: HVAC COVID-19 ventilation
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Over the last few months, Cx Associates has helped a number of schools throughout Vermont test their ventilation rates. As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, providing adequate ventilation rates is an important part of providing good indoor air quality (IAQ), both during the pandemic and normal times. While most buildings were designed to meet a ventilation standard, there are numerous reasons why rooms may not meet the current ventilation recommendations. In most buildings, measuring airflow is really the only way to know that you meet the recommendation.
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Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, HVAC system recommendations have been a primary focus because of the impact they can have on mitigating the spread of the virus inside buildings. Since we saw a period of time when many buildings were completely vacant and unused, it’s important to ensure your water systems are also safe for occupants before reopening. The concern here is not the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but harmful pathogens such as Legionella (bacteria that can cause Legionnaire’s disease) that can grow in stagnant water.
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We’ve learned a lot about COVID-19, the spread of a virus, and the mitigation of the spread over the past several months. The recommendation of the first line of defense - masking and social distancing – hasn’t changed since this pandemic started in January 2020, but it seems like every other recommendation has evolved throughout these long months. In our business of HVAC, we have kept up with the industry and CDC recommendations on ventilation and filtration and have been active in assessing commercial and institutional buildings.