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How to optimize building performance during a shutdown

Mar 24, 2020

U.S. Engineering

By Josh Seiler
General Manager, Rocky Mountain Region
U.S. Engineering Service

As COVID-19 continues to cause disruptions across the globe, we want our customers to know that We Stand Ready. We prepared for crisis, so our customer-focused operations haven’t skipped a beat. We continue to do our job so you can do yours.

As you work through the logistics of changing building occupancy levels, we would like to share some best practices that will keep your building operational and ready to go when it opens back up. Following these suggestions will allow for a smooth transition as we all get back to our offices and will prevent any unfortunate surprises upon return.

While your building is shut down


Walk the building every 48-72 hours to ensure everything is operational that needs to be.


Ensure thermostats are set to new building operation times and programmed to conserve as much energy as possible if the building is unoccupied.


Ensure the building automation system (BAS) is working properly, and alarms are triggering as needed.


Ensure facility water and bathrooms are operational.

48 hours prior to re-opening


Ramp it up slowly. We recommend at least 48 hours prior to ensure building comes to life, and comfort systems are functional for your employees.


Further open minimum outdoor air dampers (as high as 100%) to reduce or eliminate recirculation.


Disable demand-controlled ventilation (DCV).


Increase ventilation rates and ensure ventilation systems operate properly and provide acceptable indoor air quality for current occupancy (likely reduced to 50% of normal occupancy levels).


Ensure thermostats are set to proper comfort cooling temperatures and keep systems running longer hours, 24/7 if possible, to enhance air exchanges in the building space.


Ensure the building automation system (BAS) is working properly, and alarms are triggering as needed.


Ensure facility water and bathrooms are operational.


Install new MERV-13 filters or highest compatible with the filter rack in air handling equipment, and dispose of old ones.


Perform operational checks and/or startups of heating systems, cooling systems, cooling tower, economizer and exhaust fan.


Replace evaporative cooler pad and perform other operational checks, repairs or replacement.


Clean condenser coil (as needed).


Review needed repairs or replacement recommendations after inspection.


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