If you are a building manager, you are no doubt being inundated with questions about air quality. As commercial building occupancy returns to normal levels, many people fear catching viruses from recirculating air as they walk down hallways. While no evidence exists that recycled air poses a contamination risk, buildings are nonetheless under pressure to improve air quality when delivering cooling and heating services.
Although vent requirements under current building codes do not address these heightened air quality concerns, smart building technology is coming to the rescue. By automatically adjusting air quality, demand control ventilation (DCV) balances higher demand for more fresh and purified air.
Increasing Fresh Circulating Air
DCVs were designed to adjust environmental conditions according to room occupancy. They are flexibly adapting to new air quality demands. As HVAC contractors add more ducts and vents for fresh circulating air, interconnected wireless sensors are balancing heating, cooling, and ventilation usage.
At the same time, DCV systems can reduce the increase in pollutants. The challenge is that additional fresh air ducts suck in more particulate matter and other impurities into the atmosphere and HVAC system. Forced air heating systems can exacerbate the pollution. They work well with DCV systems by quickly meeting heating demands and sharing ductwork with cooling systems. Pollutants, however, can enter leaky ductwork and, from there, be emitted throughout the building.
In a DCV system, makeup air units (MAU) are an effective solution to purify heated or cooled fresh air. They work optimally under conditions in which more ventilation is required to improve air quality, as is the case in today's buildings. And they are much more efficient at removing impurities from the air than ventilation fans.
But that's not all they do. MAUs can temper the air and heating or cooling levels to improve both environmental quality and comfort for room occupants. This more responsive use of HVAC resources increases energy efficiency.
Improving Room Environmental Conditions and Comfort
DCV systems show off these smarts when adjusting to building occupancy. They use carbon dioxide and occupancy sensors to determine the number of people in a room. In high occupancy spaces such as busy cafeterias and conference rooms, ventilation can then be automatically adjusted to suit peak and low occupancy times. Internetworked with smart sensors, heating, cooling, and air purification needs are simultaneously adjusted accordingly.
This occupancy demand adjustment is an especially useful energy saver in winter when heating ventilation systems experience higher demand. With lower demand on heating systems, heating services and maintenance needs are also lowered.
In the smarter building of the future, building managers will rely more on direct ventilation control systems to meet the stricter environmental demands of building occupants. Contact a company that offers heating services to learn more.