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United Kingdom Leading The Fight Against Legionella Bacteria
United Kingdom Leading The Fight Against Legionella Bacteria

It is now more common to read about cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the media than ever before, with outbreaks regularly being reported in cities around the world, all the time. Many of these cases are attributed to contamination of domestic systems, showers and spas, but some are the result of operating cooling towers. While this problem is not new, with the first reported case in Philadelphia, in 1976, the United Kingdom (UK) has been at the forefront in leading the battle with Legionnaires’ disease, which has a mortality rate of approximately 10%. Advise on use of cooling systems The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) worked with manufacturers and industry experts, to issue the Approved Code of Practice L8 in 1991, which advised manufacturers, owners, operators and service providers on the use of cooling systems (and domestic water systems) and their safe operation, with regards to Legionella bacteria. From the data available via the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, in their Annual Epidemiological Report 2018, there were 10,672 cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported across Europe. Germany, France, Italy and Spain accounted for 71% of the cases, with UK cases only accounting for 5%. Outbreaks in the United Kingdom, in fact, are becoming more and more infrequent, which has led to the question, why is this not the case elsewhere? Countering the risk of Legionella bacteria In the UK, the HSE has led the drive to reduce the incidence of Legionella bacteria in water systems In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has led the drive to reduce the incidence of Legionella bacteria in water systems, with their two documents, ACoP-L8 and more recently, HSG274 Pt1. This has seen the numbers of cases within the UK become the lowest of the main manufacturing nations of Europe. Legionella bacteria exist in fresh water, so can be introduced into cooling systems through the make-up water line, if the water is not treated. Added to that, when given the right conditions - water temperatures between 20 °C and 45 °C, stagnation in pipes, accumulation of dirt or scale, sunlight, and a food source - it can multiply to dangerous levels within a water system. When contaminated water is introduced into a stream of air, the Legionella bacteria can become airborne, which is known as drift and if this is inhaled, it can become a serious risk to health. Tackling Legionella bacteria in cooling systems There are several ways of tackling the issue of legionella bacteria in cooling systems and these should be used in conjunction with each other, so as to comply with the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance. The cooling system (the cooling tower and everything associated with it) should be designed, so that risks of bacterial growth are minimized. This covers actions, such as the removal of dead-legs in the pipework, designing the system, so that it is easy to clean and maintain, using materials of construction that are not favorable to bacterial growth, and minimizing the release of drift. Legionella can be introduced from the water inlet, so treatment of the system is needed. This will typically involve dosing the system with biocides that kill the bacteria, corrosion inhibitors to limit corrosion (which can act as a food source) and scale inhibitors, which prevent build-up that provides a protective layer and prevents the biocides from working effectively. Physical maintenance is crucial, and comes in the form of cleaning debris and ensuring contamination is removed from the system and the heat exchange media. It also involves reviewing the system, to ensure that the correct materials are installed, in order to minimize the risk of Legionella and that they are working correctly. Preventative measures, such as painting the internals of systems can also help stop process water coming into contact with the corrosion and can extend the life of the system. Legionnaires’ disease, a very real threat Keeping cooling equipment operating safely is not the same as making sure the equipment operates effectively. Owners of cooling systems should not be complacent, with keeping their equipment clean and maintained, as bacteria is still a very real possibility in cooling systems. Legionella bacteria is naturally present in water and in the right conditions can proliferate, so it is important to minimize the risk of this occurring, by implementing controls in the form of good system design, effective water treatment and monitoring, cleaning and maintenance of the system, using qualified suppliers. If these measures are followed, the control of Legionella bacteria is achievable and organizations will be on their way to becoming responsible users of cooling systems, and in helping to keep the United Kingdom as the pioneers in the fight against Legionnaires’ disease.

Importance Of Preventative Maintenance For Commercial Property Owners And Managers
Importance Of Preventative Maintenance For Commercial Property Owners And Managers

We visit the doctor for yearly check-ups and take our vehicles to a mechanic for maintenance and oil changes. The same idea applies to an HVAC system. An HVAC system can run around 2,000 hours per year and is a building system that is constantly expending energy. Without preventative maintenance, it is much more likely that a building owner could be overlooking silent issues that could cause a system to break down long before it should. Preventative maintenance is catching on for a reason. A 2021 survey from The Colling Media Snapshot asked homeowners across the US about preventative maintenance. The survey stated that during the last time they had an HVAC service, 41% of homeowners had a preventative maintenance inspection of their HVAC system. The importance of preventative maintenance is resonating with homeowners and commercial property owners are no exception. Below are three reasons why commercial property owners and managers should keep preventative maintenance top of mind: Tenant Satisfaction Preventative maintenance can affect the satisfaction and the length of stay of residents For commercial property owners, tenant satisfaction is a top priority. Preventative maintenance can affect the satisfaction and the length of stay of residents. The Rental Protection Agency states that repair problems are the third most common complaint in residents nationwide, which includes heating and cooling. Busy season for contractors occurs during the hot summers when outside temperatures are extreme and homeowners are excessively running their units. The typical HVAC contractor carries a backlog of 2-3 weeks’ worth of work during the busy season. Summers without air conditioning can be miserable for residents and detrimental to a building’s reputation and retention if system failures are not fixed quickly enough. Staying on top of preventative maintenance is a proactive strategy to mitigate emergencies. Capital Planning Planning for routine services is important for all HVAC owners and operators as neglecting preventative maintenance can devastate a budget. This is especially true if you are a commercial property owner or manager as overlooking preventive maintenance could cause failure to multiple HVAC systems and exponentially increase the cost of repair and throw a property owner even further out of budget. In addition to reducing last-minute emergencies, keeping the maintenance and replacement history of a building’s HVAC systems is important when it is time to sell a commercial property. How well a system is maintained can affect the sale price of a property, especially as buyers from the coasts expect up-to-date HVAC systems. Data-Driven Decision Making  IoT coupled with sensors and wireless networks provide perspective into both predictive and prescriptive analytics In commercial properties, HVAC systems consume more than 30 percent of the total energy use of a building. The Internet of Things (IoT) coupled with sensors and wireless networks provide perspective into both predictive and prescriptive analytics that can assist in decision making. With this data, building owners and maintenance techs can understand which systems are consuming the most energy, which ones are the most energy-efficient, and can identify when systems are breaking down. These actions provide a runway of time to proactively fix system failures before the cost to repair is greater than the cost of replacement.

HVAC Efficiency Enabled By The Smart Buildings Of The Future
HVAC Efficiency Enabled By The Smart Buildings Of The Future

In today’s world, we spend almost 90 per cent of our time indoors, in our workplaces, leisure areas and our homes. It is no secret that the built environment has been relatively slow in its embrace of information technology and automation. According to KPMG’s ‘Building a Technology Advantage’ report, fewer than 20 percent of construction and engineering executives, and major-project owners said they are re-thinking their business models, so as to incorporate new technology. Yet, it has now become a necessity, as energy efficiency becomes a more prominent topic discussion, which is leading to sweeping changes across all aspects of our lives and none more so than in the built environment. Commitment to net-zero emissions Governments are beginning to impose tighter restrictions on building use, energy consumption and emissions. Policymakers around the world are committing to net-zero emissions targets, with more than 60 countries pledging to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. For example, the European Union (EU) is committed to become a carbon-neutral economy, with net-zero emissions by 2050 and all new buildings within the EU must be constructed as near-zero energy buildings. Meanwhile, China has legislated that at least 30 per cent of all new buildings must be ‘green’. Smart technology to better manage HVAC Technology can help optimize energy consumption and create energy efficiency in our buildings Given this new trend towards energy efficiency in the real estate sector, smart technology is needed to better manage HVAC and energy consumption. Buildings currently contribute 40 per cent of global carbon emissions, a problem exacerbated by extreme weather conditions across the globe, which increases demand for electricity, as more people rely on air conditioning for cooling. Technology can help optimize energy consumption and create energy efficiency in our buildings, alleviating many of the problems that we have today. Technology enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT) can optimize comfort and safety, while providing remote operability and access to everything from HVAC systems to security cameras. At the same time, data collection and integration with cloud-based services allow for powerful energy efficiency measures. Designing and operating Smart buildings The concept and operation of smart buildings is not new. Architects and developers have been installing separate systems to control lighting and HVAC for decades. Later systems have evolved and helped building managers control access to different areas of a site, mitigate fire risk and protect against power surges. What is new is the addition of web-based platforms, in order to allow these verticals to integrate seamlessly with each other. The building of tomorrow is achievable today, using the latest in automation intelligence to control lighting, air-conditioning and heating. With these digital solutions, everything can be controlled remotely and allow for complete control, whenever it is needed most. Increased use of smart technology The first step in managing HVAC energy is to understand exactly how much is being used and where it is used. With this information at hand, managers can highlight areas for improvement, which in turn will help a building become more efficient and ultimately, save money. Another step in managing HVAC energy is including smart technology alongside your system Another step in managing HVAC energy is including smart technology alongside your system, as it can minimize maintenance costs. Predictive fault-finding can save maintenance time and labor, as well as minimizing downtime for expensive equipment or services. It is estimated that smart-enabled predictive maintenance is three to nine times cheaper than a traditional reactive approach. Tenant and occupant satisfaction are often also higher, as systems that experience failure can be identified, repaired and re-booted quickly. Smart building systems Smart building systems, such as ABB i-bus KNX ClimaECO and ABB Cylon BACnet solutions, can combine HVAC in one holistic solution, from central control and management of heating and cooling systems, down to room-level automation. Smart systems simplify the implementation of intelligent automation in modern buildings and using pre-installed algorithms, can make autonomous decisions on things, such as adjusting lighting and HVAC levels, to reflect time of day, external environment, occupancy levels or other variables. Additionally, data collection and data analysis enabled by IoT allows for increased knowledge and better predictions of use. Working with a smart building, which is interconnected, can act and learn on this data, while providing remote access to data and analytics for human oversight. The ROI of smart technology implementation In addition to legislation driving change, being ‘smart’ provides other real benefits for developers and owners. As a building adapts to the demands of its users or the goals of its managers, it can save energy, cut emissions and reduce energy costs. More effective and efficient use of power can save money, quickly repaying initial technology expenditure Comparing energy savings to the falling cost of installing a basic smart management system, smart buildings immediately prove their worth. According to HSBC, if a smart system delivered an energy cost saving of 25 per cent, on an installation cost of US$ 37,500, for a 50,000 sq. ft building, the annual savings could be as much as US$ 23,000, giving a payback period of less than two years. More effective and efficient use of power can save money, quickly repaying initial technology expenditure. HVAC and lighting alone can account for about 50 per cent of energy use in an average commercial building, but by incorporating smart automation, managers may see decreased energy costs of up to 30 to 50 per cent. Leading the fight against climate change Technologies, such as IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are crucial to help us in the fight against climate change. These technologies help users, owners, operators and facility managers interact with the buildings of the future effortlessly, with personalized comfort and maximum efficiency. Artificial Intelligence and IoT is constantly in a state of evolution, as more applications for the technology are discovered. Given the ever-changing nature of technology, the possibilities for smart buildings in the future are endless.

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