Over the last few months, Cx Associates has helped a number of schools throughout Vermont test their ventilation rates. As we’re 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.
Topics: HVAC COVID-19 ventilation
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COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. From what we’ve learned about the transmission of COVID, spending time in an enclosed space with others is ill advised, and social distancing means working from home and homeschooling. I’ve been doing the former since March, even though Cx Associates’ offices reopened in June. Reopening the office was not an easy choice to make, as was my decision to remain at home, and I thought I’d write a bit about it.
Topics: COVID-19 coronavirus remote
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The prospect of reopening schools under the new CDC guidelines in response to COVID-19 can be overwhelming for facilities and administrative personnel. In addition to increased surface cleaning, hand washing, maintaining six feet between classroom desks, and wearing face masks, the schools are faced with making decisions on how to best operate their HVAC equipment. As much as the world is trying to help them with these decisions, the HVAC guidelines from the CDC and ASHRAE are all encompassing; it is difficult to identify which measures are applicable and even more difficult to prioritize the measures under a school’s constrained budget. This may overburden an already burdened school facilitator.
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As we are all learning to adjust to life with COVID-19, many areas are considering re-opening schools for the coming school year. Although many teachers are finally starting to unwind into a stranger-than-usual summer break, now is the ideal time to get a jump on adjustments to school operations to make in-person education as safe as possible for students, faculty and staff alike.
Topics: Higher Education COVID-19 PK-12 Education
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On March 10, I returned to a very different world here in Vermont after having spent the prior two weeks visiting New Zealand. While at the Auckland airport on my trip home, I accepted a position at Cx Associates, not knowing how the coming weeks would unfold as the virus was beginning to explode in the states. Upon my return, I self-quarantined for the recommended 14 days, and then the stay-at-home orders and various recommendations kept me here. Ten weeks in, I’ve had to adjust to a new life and start a new job that was never meant to be remote, remotely. I’ve learned a thing or two about working from home amidst a pandemic and would like to offer you some of the ways I’ve found rhythm and comfort among the challenges, and resources to get you started should you feel a certain strategy might be beneficial.
Topics: Workplace & People COVID-19 coronavirus remote
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With the current COVID-19 global crisis, organizations all over the country are actively seeking ways to continue to provide the same level of services to their customers while keeping their employees safe. Cx Associates is known for its rigorous standards in the commissioning process, but a large portion of our work is contingent on our ability to be on construction sites, working with contractors to verify the installation and functionality of equipment. With Vermont’s order that all non-essential employees work from home, and with Cx Associates’ commitment to both keep our employees safe and prevent us from potentially spreading the virus on construction sites, we needed to quickly find a way to provide our on-site services remotely for the essential construction work that continues to move forward in a way that still matches our high standards. This blog discusses our approach to remote site work and how we're continuing to serve our clients while safely social distancing from our home offices.
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In this time of global crisis, it can be hard to cope with some of the new realities we’re all being faced with, whether it’s experiencing isolation due to social distancing, fearing for yourself or loved ones, or dealing with the virus’ economic impact. As a business that strives to engineer a future where buildings are better for people and planet, we can’t help but notice the ways this crisis reflects global warming’s looming themes: it’s going to affect everyone, it has dangerous consequences, and it takes a global effort to combat. While I only have the emotional bandwidth for one global emergency at a time, the environment is still in the back of my mind, and I can’t help but think of the ways the virus and our environment are inextricably linked.
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Hospitals are racing to create as many isolation rooms as possible to help effectively care for patients with COVID-19 while keeping healthcare providers and others in the hospital as safe from infection as possible.