If all of your tenants have implemented a work from home policy, you now have a unique opportunity to curtail costs and reduce energy usage over the coming weeks and months. But where do you start? Our team of building systems experts has compiled a list of best practices to help you adjust operations during COVID-19. Check out our webinar for even more detailed advice from our team and an expert from Cushman & Wakefield.
Communicate with Your Tenants
It is important to keep tenants apprised of changes in the building, whether they are physically present or not. We recommend at least 4 touchpoints to ensure that all stakeholder needs are met.
Understand Your Building
As you are preparing to adjust operations, it’s important to begin by assessing the current state of your building. To do this, we recommend the following:
Document Planned Changes
Our current reality highlights the importance of having accurate and complete documentation around your building operations. You may be working with backup engineers or in shifts that are spread out. A written sequence will come in handy for all the people making operational decisions about the building.
Be sure to document your building’s existing sequence of operations as well as the planned changes. This will ensure that you can track the impact of your efforts, keep all stakeholders aligned, and make it easier to return to normal operations when the time comes.
Now that you have properly communicated with your tenants, taken stock of your building operations and documented a course of action, it’s time to adjust your operations to curtail costs and reduce energy usage. Below are some specific recommendations for decentralized systems.
When it’s Time to Resume Normal Operations
Ensure that your building is healthy and well operated before tenants return.
Per ASHRAE Std 189.1-2017, there are two extremes for preparing a building for occupancy. For new construction, ASHRAE dictates a 14-day flush out. For existing buildings, it dictates one hour of ventilation when a space has been unventilated for 24 hours.
You can expect your preparation efforts to fall somewhere within that range. We recommend that you begin preparation at least 2-3 days before reopening. Be sure to ask tenants for a 1-3 day notice ahead of their return in order to get the space ready.
During your reopening preparation, return building schedules and setpoints to normal operations and verify all equipment is running properly. Consider flushing out for 1-3 hrs a few times a week.
Be sure to consult the CDC, OSHA and ASHRAE, and any local or federal guidelines along with these best practices.
Additional resource: ASHRAE Guidance for Building Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic 3/24/2020