How CRE Owners Are Making Their Buildings Safe Again
Financial recovery won’t be businesses’ only concern when they begin to reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ll also be tasked with making customers feel safe coming to their offices and stores again. Magnolia Bakery in New York City for example will ask customers entering its shop to walk through a cleansing chamber, The Wall Street Journal reports. Patrons will be “bathed” in ultraviolet (UV) light for 20 seconds, which is safe for humans, but lethal for viruses and bacteria. Columbia University has tested the far-UVC light on 100 hairless mice for almost a year with no ill effects.
Customers can expect these types of precautions as businesses attempt to curb people’s fear of going into buildings. Prior to the pandemic, people did not give crowding into places like offices, schools, retail shops, restaurants, sports arenas and gyms a second thought. Now, it will be up to building owners and operators to assure people it’s OK to do so again if they want customers to return in pre-COVID numbers.
Here are some technology solutions and interventions that building owners are putting to making their buildings safe again for patrons to visit and shop.
Refining Air Quality
The Coronavirus can spread through building’s ventilation systems, according to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report. Potentially spreading the virus through the air has building owners reconsidering how they heat and cool their buildings. Companies are also looking into new technologies that can eliminate pathogens the second they leave people’s mouths, according to The Wall Street Journal. The ability to adopt these solutions will depend on how fast they can get emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Indoor air has become more polluted than outdoor air in a lot of cities during the last few decades, The Great Indoors author Emily Anthes wrote. The drop in inside air quality is partly due to efforts to make buildings more energy efficient. In doing so, some buildings have become, “sealed tombs” that don’t have much outdoor air exchange.
It is possible to for a building to absorb more outdoor air without sacrificing energy efficiency. Engineers didn’t put these measures into practice because they require more design effort and equipment than just recirculating air. Installing filters that can catch small particles, even as small as the Coronavirus, so air ducts are not transmitting re-circulated virus-laden droplets on people as they walk by is another way to improve in-building air quality.