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Our buildings must be protected through the COVID-19 crisis

Steven
Marston

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The level of anxiety that one experiences in times of stress is usually directly correlated to one's feeling of helplessness in finding a solution to a new challenge. Overnight, COVID-19 has magnified this feeling ten-fold as we are now faced with redefining what our modus operandi is.

Our corporate partners, especially, have been faced daily with one challenge, and that is how and what measures do they need to implement to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading within corporate buildings to their team members and tenants.

Of course, these measures are also a critical component to our business, and as such we have consistently kept abreast of the changing landscape by reviewing American Society for Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers' (ASHRAE) and Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations' (REHVA) latest guidance documents on coping with the COVID-19 outbreak.

This has led us, CAC 2000 Limited, a premier provider of air-conditioning and energy solutions in the region, to put forth the following summary of key actions we believe building owners could implement as safety measures in their air-conditioned buildings:

1) Increase the outdoor air ventilation in the building as much as possible by bringing into the building quality fresh air (for example, not polluted or having melliferous odour) based on average occupancy levels;

2) Increase the frequency of replacement of air filter as well as their effectiveness by upgrading to a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of 13 filters (the higher the MERV rating on a filter, the fewer dust particles and other contaminants can pass through it), as well as ensuring the areas around the filter racks are properly sealed to prevent any air bypassing the filters;

3) Keep the air conditioning running for as long as possible to ensure maximum filtration of the air;

4) Consider portable room air cleaners with High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestor (HEPA) filters; and

5) Consider Ultraviolet UVC germicidal protection equipment in your air-conditioning systems to sterilise the air in high risk spaces.

Implementation of the above measures, along with those published by the Ministry of Health — social distancing, disinfecting surfaces, washing of hands for 20 seconds, using hand sanitisers, etc — can help to mitigate the spread of the virus while making your spaces that much safer for your customers and employees.

CAC 2000 Limited looks forward to working together in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 here in the land we love, Jamaica.

 

Steven Marston is the chairman and CEO of CAC 2000 Limited, a publicly listed company on the Jamaica Junior Stock Exchange. He is a qualified engineer with some 40 years' experience in air conditioning and energy systems.