• Britt Espinosa

Facility Management, COVID-19, and Sensory Information Systems

With a high level of transmission, long recovery period, and a fatality rate 10x-20x more deadly than the flu, COVID-19 poses a real threat. As of the writing of this blog post, 29 states in the U.S have put some form of social distancing or shelter in place order into effect.

This situation puts facility operators in an interesting position. Facilities require many hands and eyes to keep things running smoothly. With the vast majority of U.S businesses having employees work from home, facility operators are being forced to “do more, with less”.

New developments in commercial building IoT and Sensory Information Systems (SIS) provide a path for facility operators to have “hands and eyes” on their facilities most critical systems without the risk of exposing their employees or vendors.

Below are 4 ways adopting an SIS can help your building during this pandemic (and beyond).

1. Air Quality Measurement

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) matters, and not just during the COVID-19 crisis. Sure, you could pay to have your IAQ tested, but not only is this expensive, it’s also not feasible during a

pandemic. Senseware has designed an easy to use SIS platform for IAQ that is much less expensive than traditional testing and requires no humans to do.

2. Mechanical Maintenance and Diagnostics

According to the ASHRAE 180 Standard, between 60%-70% of maintenance tasking is used for diagnostic work. This diagnostic work includes taking refrigerant temperatures/pressures, checking filter and coil dirtiness, checking amperages etc. A good SIS will cover all of those

diagnostic points 24/7, vastly increasing equipment visibility while also greatly reducing the need for vendors/technicians to do routine diagnostic checks. Tulu for Mechanical Systems is an SIS designed for mechanical systems that can dramatically increase visibility on your equipment while significantly reducing maintenance costs.

3. Facility Energy Use

According to Energy Star up to 30% of the energy commercial buildings consume is due to waste. The good news is the majority of this waste can be prevented – however like any business problem it can only be prevented if you know where to look. With many facilities unoccupied, it’s important to make sure your building isn’t wasting money on wasted energy. Likewise, with the lack of “energy noise” created by having people (plugging in personal heaters etc.) it’s a great time to get a benchmark for your building. Just like IAQ, you could hire an energy service company to collect information on your building’s energy, but this can be expensive and is also not feasible during a pandemic. Solutions like Verdigris and Tulu for Power Panels provide in depth insight into where energy is being used – all with the click of a button.

4. Just-in-time Component Fulfillment

The industry standard for handling filter/belt changes on mechanical equipment is to follow a set schedule for change outs. This is an inefficient and wasteful approach and especially during a pandemic it is a needless risk. SIS systems like Tulu for Mechanical Systems use Air Pressure Differential sensors to measure air flow across filters and current sensors to measure motor amperages. With 24/7 visibility on this data, facility operators can change their filters/belts at the exact time they need to be changed, not too soon and not too late.