UBC’s HVAC teams are making sure we can breathe easy

For the past 18 months, discovering, researching and functioning at UBC has been carried out remotely wherever achievable.

But 1 group of men and women stayed hectic on campus trying to keep the infrastructure operating: the staff dependable for preserving the heating, air flow, and air conditioning (HVAC) programs operating thoroughly.

As UBC prepares to return to campus discovering and teaching, these essential personnel are redoubling their initiatives to make sure that the college premises fulfill recommendations from WorkSafeBC, the BC Middle for Condition Handle (BC CDC), and the American Society or excel in heating, refrigeration and air conditioning engineers (ASHRAE).

Your endeavours are also led by the University’s COVID-19 HVAC Doing the job Group to Help the Well being and Security of the UBC Local community, which has introduced collectively skilled engineers and design machines industry experts from UBC Services and Safety & Risk Providers in UBC Vancouver as Wellbeing, Security and Natural environment from UBC Okanagan, and Faculty associates of the College of Population and Public Health of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Wellness.

Shawn Kenney (remaining) and Willian Visitor (ideal) from UBC Vancouver adjust MERV 13 air filters in an air managing unit in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Making. Picture: UBC

A new safety baseline

“This committee, which was nicely represented by each universities, arrived up with some certain suggestions to prepare the universities of the UBC,” stated Adrian Hingston, deputy director of health and fitness, protection and the ecosystem at UBC Okanagan.

“A single advice that was in line with BC CDC’s recommendations was to bring in outdoors air each time doable and make absolutely sure the methods operate as planned,” suggests Hingston. “ASHRAE also advisable setting up flushes following the hour to get contemporary air as a result of the buildings, and they also advised switching to a minimum MERV filter – minimum amount efficiency report value – 13. “

In apply, this suggests that each individual air filter in the university is audited and replaced if essential through the summer months.

“In the previous, we just adopted the identical recommendations as generally and transformed factors in accordance to each individual unit’s routine maintenance timetable. Now we have to do it all in two months to make confident every thing is in just one location, ”said Shaun Macdonald, head of mill builders at UBC Facilities’ Making Functions in Vancouver.

“We want to be in the best possible shape for September 7th,” extra Martin Gibb, Manager of Engineering and Utility Companies, Facility Management, at UBC Okanagan.

“We you should not ordinarily go in and flash all the structures like this yr due to the fact if we do them all all over the identical time, they’re going to all occur thanks at the similar time,” claims Gibb.

An act of juggling

The Vancouver campus has the included challenge of ventilating more mature properties with no HVAC units.

“We are thinking about buying portable air filters and enthusiasts for rooms without mechanical air flow,” said Stephen Li, mechanical engineer in Creating Functions, UBC Vancouver, who is active heading by means of a record of hundreds of rooms that UBC Safety & Risk Expert services has been performing on Registered for critique in progress of September.

The perform is a variety of juggling act, he says.

“Are we turning on electrical heat or would that overload the electrical power source? How much electrical energy do we will need to be ready to install these portable admirers and filters? How a lot of supporters do we want to deliver in the ideal amount of money of outside air to comply with regulations? “Suggests Li.” These are all thoughts I have to solution. “

All of this is in addition to the normal every day process of responding to phone calls

“We still have do the job orders from spots that are at the moment occupied,” notes Li.

With roughly 900 rooms rated for upgrades at UBC Vancouver and 24 buildings at UBC Okanagan that have at least MERV 13 filters, this is a huge occupation in every way.

But it truly is 1 matter the operations teams are satisfied to do.

A frequent welcome

“The campus right after March 2020 felt so strange,” Macdonald recollects. “On my bike trip to do the job, no people today came to campus. Buses drove by, but they have been empty. Heading into structures exactly where all the lights had been off, the doorways were locked and all the classrooms ended up empty was sort of frightening. “

Now, he suggests, there is developing anticipation in the air as he and his colleagues search ahead to welcoming the community again to campus.

“It’s basically quite interesting. It truly is not just about acquiring every thing repopulated, it is the emotion that you are supporting to preserve and construct this college ecosystem for all these people who will be the subsequent era, and they are right here to find out ” says Macdonald. “We are all very pleased of our get the job done and the work on this campus is possibly the most effective reward.”

More information and facts

Learn a lot more about UBC Vancouver’s Creating Ventilation & Protection Attempts and UBC Okanagan’s Creating Readiness Rules.