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July 2020
Interview

AutomatedBuildings.com

Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.
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Hadas WebbEMAIL INTERVIEWHadas Webb and Ken Sinclair

Hadas Webb, CEM, Managing Director of
Analytics,  Cimetrics, Analytika


         Cimetrics Guidelines for COVID-19 Response

Cimetrics developed a document summarizing the ASHRAE and CDC recommendations with respect to cost (both installation and lifecycle), effectiveness, and other considerations, as well as provides examples of how Analytika is used to support shutdown and reopening.

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Sinclair:  What is the Cimetrics Analytika service?

Webb:  Analytika is a cloud-based analytics platform that provides building and facility owners and managers a tool for monitoring the performance of the intricately engineered systems that control today’s buildings. Analytika ensures efficient energy usage, addresses corporate compliance, and manages the lifecycle of equipment and other assets, all to ensure the best indoor environment for occupants and value for the organizations who rely on them. Developed by Cimetrics from decades of building system experience, Analytika is a unique model-based IIoT service built to analyze critical components continuously. Supplemented by Cimetrics’ army of professional consultants, Analytika securely delivers results directly to our users.

Sinclair:  How is Analytika helping its customers during this COVID-19 pandemic?

Webb:  These are unprecedented circumstances, and the Analytika service continues to monitor our customer sites and support any changes to facility operations. During building shutdowns, many facilities reduced their on-site staff and eliminated non-essential maintenance, but Analytika continued to be their watchdog for critical equipment faults. Analytika has also continued to monitor building spaces for unusual conditions that would normally be reported by the occupants. Our customers have been relying on us to verify changes to their equipment operation due to COVID-19. We have been providing energy calculations - both equipment setbacks savings due to reduced occupancy, and excess energy costs associated with increase in airflow, operating hours, and filter replacements.

Sinclair:  Can Analytika help customers after reopening too?

Webb:  Yes! As buildings reopen, the Analytika service will confirm that equipment operation is consistent with best practices; monitor space conditions such as temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels; and quantify the impact of adherence to ASHRAE and CDC guidelines. We have calculated energy cost projections for specific measures our customers are considering as they plan for reopening. Our automatic fault detection and diagnostics (AFDD) platform continuously monitors equipment and flags operation that violates best practices. Analytika can also be used to monitor equipment such as UVGI controllers and airborne pathogen sensors.

As a part of our initiative to support our customers and the industry in general, we created a document that summarizes the ASHRAE and CDC recommendations with respect to installation and lifecycle cost, effectiveness, and other considerations, as well as provides examples of how building analytics can be used to support shutdown and reopening.

Sinclair:  What motivated you to create the Cimetrics Guidelines for COVID-19 Response?

Webb:  With thousands of articles and papers related to COVID-19 risk mitigation being published, our customers were struggling to find a clear direction. We sorted through the recommendations to help our customers make the most practical and effective decisions for their buildings and occupants. This document provides actionable information - how much will this cost me? What else do I need to consider? How can I monitor the effects of these actions?

Sinclair:  Can you give us some examples of the recommendations and other actionable information you provide in this document?

Webb:  Certainly! The document provides a summary of current recommendations in the United States from ASHRAE and CDC related to air distribution systems, quantifies the financial and operational impact of those recommendations, and demonstrates how building analytics can be used to facilitate decision-making and operational management. The ASHRAE and CDC recommendations are grouped into four categories of HVAC transmission mitigation methods: Ultraviolet Radiation (UVGI/UV-C/GUV), Ventilation, Air Filtration, and Temperature & Humidity Control.

The information that has been most useful for our customers, and for which we have received the most feedback, is the Energy Impact section. These two charts show the annual operating cost of increasing the minimum outside airflow, increasing the hours of operation, upgrading the filters, and running UVC filters. The charts show the energy impact for different regions in the US in cost per square foot per year and BTU per square foot per year. In addition to helping with prioritization, these charts help our customers secure additional funding, as well as project long-term changes to their energy use trends.

PlantPROCORE Sinclair:  Are your recommendations only related to HVAC systems?

Webb:  Our customers turn to us for our expertise in energy and building analytics. The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is not yet fully understood, but air distribution through HVAC systems is currently believed to be a transmission vector.

So yes, our recommendations relate only to HVAC systems, but Cimetrics recognizes that the most effective means of mitigating risk of infection is to limit person-to-person interaction, and that consideration needs to be given to methods of minimizing contact such as workflow modifications to minimize occupancy, replacing high-touch surfaces (e.g. touchless door locks & elevators, single-serving items), revised spatial configuration, and adherence to surface cleaning and hygiene protocols.

Sinclair:  Are you planning to update this document going forward?

Webb:  Yes. We will revise the document on an ongoing basis as new evidence emerges and the current recommendations and technologies change. For example, there is growing evidence supporting an indoor space humidity “safe zone” of 40-60%. Please check back regularly - we will post the updated document on our website www.analytika.com

Sinclair:  How do I learn more about Analytika service and find out how it can help me?

Webb:  Our web site is https://www.analytika.com/. If you would like to learn how Analytika can help you, please contact me at hwebb@cimetrics.com.


About the Author

Hadas Webb has 20 years of experience in engineering, energy analysis, and leadership. She has been with Cimetrics since 2007 and currently leads the Analytics team. Her primary responsibilities include ensuring on-time and high-quality deliverables; process and procedure development and optimization; project oversight including budgets, timelines, prioritization, and communication; and customer success. Formerly, as a Senior Analyst at Cimetrics, Ms. Webb was directly responsible for energy analysis of over 8 million square feet of facilities in the education, government, and health care sectors throughout the United States. Ms. Webb received a B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.S. from Carnegie Mellon University, both in Mechanical Engineering. She is a member of ASHRAE and AEE and is a Certified Energy Manager.

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