COVID-19: Redesigning Plans For New Store Designs
Major changes have occurred at a rapid pace to traditional shopping experiences as consumers seek trust and safety from the retailers where they choose to shop. As the public’s expectations heighten and change, so must the way HVAC-R providers design and engineer solutions to ensure the safest possible public environments. These new demands are challenging our industry to design and engineer HVAC operations that are suited for our new COVID-19-centric world.
Whether it’s a store remodel or a new store design, refrigeration and HVAC industry leaders like CoolSys are charged with creating innovative solutions that are greener, more sustainable and focus on bringing in more fresh air to improve the ability to kill viruses that travel in airstreams. Commercial buildings will require better filtration to incorporate fresh air requirements and may require larger, more sophisticated HVAC units.
Low air returns are a high priority
Low air return has become a priority in refrigeration and HVAC engineering and design. When you force air down to the ground, you effectively force viruses to the ground. There are numerous methods to achieve low air returns within a supermarket environment. An expert HVAC-R technician can help engineer the best approach, whether it be to return air from underneath or behind a refrigeration case, or by increasing airflow capabilities with the HVAC system to create greater fresh air capacity and the opportunity for low air returns.
Bringing fresh air in from out
For stores that are undergoing remodels or new construction, a dedicated outside air unit that is correctly designed and specified by an HVAC professional is often the best approach to achieving adequate indoor air quality. Outside air can help satisfy the requirement of bringing in higher volumes and quantities of fresh air vs. traditional strategies of recirculating cold air indoors—which can also circulate virus transmission from person to person. Installing a unique unit that is capable of handling outside air, with filtration and dehumidification capabilities, is a viable solution for many store HVAC operations.
Current codes will prove inadequate to support COVID-19 mitigation efforts and will likely need to change to mandate higher volumes of fresh air in public spaces. As code regulations begin to change to account for the effects of the pandemic, the expert HVAC-R technicians at CoolSys can help customers evaluate their existing system capabilities and necessary upgrades while leveraging opportunities for new energy incentives.
Each building’s operational requirements are unique, and an HVAC-R engineering, installation, and service expert can help to develop a specific plan that works for your building and store operation objectives.