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Back to the Classroom: Creating Healthy Indoor Air Quality in Schools

11/13/20 2:37 PM / by Tom Bugg

Schools across the country are working hard day-by-day to understand and plan for safely re-entering their facilities. Experts have said that being back in the classroom is the most beneficial for students, but how can that happen in the middle of a pandemic?

Blog Summary TomIn fall 2020, Melink began an HVAC project to help a large public school district safely return to in-person learning. Consisting of more than 200 schools, the district's teachers' union went on strike from in-person learning until the district could prove that indoor air quality was acceptable. They wanted to ensure the district was taking all measures for a safe return.

Partnering with a local air conditioner contractor, we identified the following goals to get teachers and students back in the classroom safely:

  • Goal 1 – Provide an inventory and assessment of the major HVAC equipment
  • Goal 2 – Increase indoor air filtration to MERV-13 as recommended by ASHRAE
  • Goal 3 – Increase building fresh air ventilation as recommended by ASHRAE

 

Managing the Project Scope

Goal 1 consisted of measuring outside airflow for every air handling unit, which in some cases amounted to more than 300 units at an individual school. What was initially thought to be a one-week job for one technician grew rapidly. At one point, a dozen Melink technicians were bouncing around from school to school. Daily phone calls with the customer, as well as internal calls to our team, became increasingly important to stay on track. At times, e-mails were being sent so fast, that if you blinked, you missed something.

 

School air handling unit

 

Now, this “one-week, one technician” project has been ongoing for almost two months with approximately 25 Melink employees lending a hand. This goal has officially been completed on our end, and the local contractor is making necessary equipment adjustments. Once the adjustments are made, we will send our technicians back on site to tackle the remaining goals to verify the adjustments were done correctly to ASHRAE guidelines.

 

Project Feedback

The air conditioning contractor has been impressed with what we were able to accomplish so far:

“All, I just completed and sent the finalized information to the school district…This was a difficult task with confusing direction from the school district. We went in blind and worked our way through this. We were able to complete three times more of the work than originally anticipated. Thank you to Melink and my operation/field team for making this happen. It is true when they say teamwork and communication are key.”

And on the topic of Melink’s unique test and balance reports:

“By far the most complete, detailed report I have received, along with it being the easiest for me to upload to the master system.”

 

Melink is proud to have been able to help this school district with its plan to safely re-enter buildings. As the country continues to grapple with the new reality of this pandemic, the heightened awareness surrounding indoor air quality will stay. Melink is a partner that schools (or any facility) can count on. Contact us today — drop a comment below, email tbestimating@melinkcorp.com, or call (513) 965-7300.

 

 

Tags: HVAC Test & Balance

Tom Bugg

Written by Tom Bugg

Tom Bugg joined Melink Corporation in 2020 as a Business Development Manager, responsible for developing and fostering relationships in the corporate and higher education markets. He helps his customers save energy, increase their profits, and make the world a more sustainable place.