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Call for Ventilation & Social Determinants of Health Standards Post-COVID-19

During the April 8, 2020 White House Corona Virus Briefing, CDC Director Robert Redfield outlined the minimum measures that every business should take to minimize the risk of spreading airborne particles and pathogens in workplaces, office, shops and other businesses. “What the CDC has done is that we’ve really looked at the essential workforce, and how to maintain that workforce, particularly at this time as we begin to get ready to reopen, and have confidence in bringing our workforces back to work.” The CDC director, Dr. Redfield continued, “We’d like them (employers) to increase air exchange in the buildings and increase the frequency of how they clean common surfaces and really began to get these workers back into the critical workforce so that we won’t have a worker shortage in these critical industries. So that’s the new guidelines the CDC will be posting today.” The CDC Interim Guidance to Businesses and Employers recommends all businesses “increase the amount of air exchanges in the common work areas and other rooms employees share.”

But the CDC was not the first agency to link health and disease to air quality. In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) determined that environmental factors such as poor indoor air quality, poor water quality and noise pollution are detrimental to the overall health of the world’s population. Daily exposure to poor indoor and outdoor air quality, poor water quality or greater than 55 dB noise each independently increase the risk of serious heart attack or stroke. These negative Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) also impair the immune system making one more likely to contract an airborne or water borne illness.

It is against this backdrop that Natural Air E-Controls, the High Alert Institute, Inc. and the Renaissance Worldwide Solutions family of companies set forth the following standards:

Optimization of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) using Outdoor Air Under the Direction of an Automated Controller Comparing Multiple Sensor Monitored Environmental Air Quality Factors

Today’s homes and low-rise buildings are built with a “tight envelope” to increase energy efficiency. But a tightly- built structure is not necessarily a well-ventilated structure. Failure to provide adequate ventilation is a common problem in currently installed HVAC systems and older HVAC systems may not ventilate the building at all. Both situations contribute to poor IAQ and health risks.

Proper ventilation involves exchanging or replacing indoor and outdoor air, reducing the build-up of allergens and contaminants. Current HVAC technology, however, ventilates without regard to outdoor air quality (OAQ), temperature or humidity. This wastes energy and can promote growth of indoor molds. And while HVAC filters remove particulates such as dust and pollen, odors, gases and fumes are not eliminated. Pollutants can build up, leading to potentially serious health problems.

Whether a business owner or a homeowner, you are responsible for the environment of your home or workplace. Everyday operations and productivity are dependent upon a healthy workforce, but all too often this is not the case. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), poor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been linked to headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. A comprehensive review of the over 87,000 peer reviewed scientific articles related to COVID-19 revealed that living with exposure to poor indoor and/or outdoor air quality was associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 infection and an increased likelihood of progressing to serious COVID-19 pneumonia. Poor quality of other SDoH including poor water quality, congested living and noise pollution were associated with increased risk of COVID-19 infection.

A sensor based SMART air quality monitor and ventilation control system, integrating Whole-Building Ventilation with Whole-Building Fan Heating/Cooling is the standard that should be used for all new and revised ventilation standards. SMART sensors monitor for factors affecting IAQ, such as rising humidity or potentially dangerous gases and particulates. This allows the System to ventilate the area and/or to alert the consumer to take corrective action.

Solutions to optimize IAQ provided by a sensor based SMART air quality monitor and ventilation control system include the following:

  • circulate and ventilate indoor air
  • increase comfort by controlling when outside air enters the structure 
  • optimize the quality of air entering the structure while exchanging “stale air” for outdoor air
  • determine when to exchange air based upon the quality, temperature, and humidity levels of the outdoor air (SMART controller)
  • removes airborne contagions and irritants (i.e. viruses, bacteria, molds, pollen, dust, dander)
  • removes pollutants with exhausted stale air (i.e. volatile organic compounds (VOC), pollutant gases, CO2, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, sulfurous gases, nitrogenous gases, and radon)
  • extend escape time from fire, smoke or rising carbon monoxide levels (2 to 5 extra minutes can be life-saving)
  • vent noxious odors more quickly than standard bathroom or kitchen vents and more effectively than opening a window
    promote the health of family, friends, employees and clients

Reduction of Energy Consumption and Energy Costs by Ventilating Based Upon Comparative Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality and Cool/Heat Banking Based Upon Indoor and Outdoor Conditions

Even in the most balanced HVAC system, some rooms are cooler than others while other rooms are warmer. A sensor based SMART air quality monitor and ventilation control system not only optimizes IAQ – it also conserves energy, thereby reducing energy costs. Energy efficiency is optimized by ventilating the building only when needed to improve IAQ, closing the fresh air duct and resealing the tight building when IAQ is good. In addition, energy is conserved by “banking” cool air or warm air as needed. Circulation of the “banked” cool or warm air allows the HVAC system to skip compressor cycles, using less energy and decreasing energy costs.

A sensor based SMART air quality monitor and ventilation control system monitors, controls, and integrates each aspect of the HVAC system – heating, ventilation and air conditioning. As a result, energy efficiency is maximized and energy costs are reduced. In addition, a sensor based SMART air quality monitor and ventilation control system informs the owner if an increase in energy consumption occurs – a harbinger of a problem with the HVAC system. This early warning permits the owner to seek repairs early, likely reducing the cost of the repair and decreasing the stress on the system as a whole. In addition, loss of use and equipment down time can be minimized.

Facilitate Research on Social Determinants of Health and Empower Individuals to Improve Community Health through Shared, Pooled, Geo-Tagged, Anonymized, Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality, Water Quality and Noise Pollution Sensor Data

Researchers from government, healthcare, insurance and industry have called for the development of databases to collect SDoH data from “shared, pooled, geo-tagged, anonymized, IoT sensors,” according to Dr. Steven Miff, President and CEO of PCCI, a leading, non-profit, artificial intelligence and cognitive computing organization. These SDoH sensor data include indoor and outdoor air quality, water quality, and indoor and outdoor noise pollution. This information is critical for the advancement of the science of social determinants of health. According to leaders in SDoH research, the field cannot advance until such sensors are deployed and reporting data in near real time.

The benefits of shared pooled data are two-fold, benefiting the individual customer directly and indirectly. By monitoring data relevant to the neighborhood where a given consumer lives or works, IAQ and OAQ directly impacting the individual is provided. Further, when shared and pooled, that data contributes to the local analyses of Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Support “Going Green” Through the Use of Sensor Based SMART Air Quality Monitor and Ventilation Control System

A sensor based SMART air quality monitor and ventilation control system supports the efforts of home and business owners interested in “Going Green” and, to that end, provides the following benefits:

  • Reduces energy consumption (accompanied by decreased energy costs)
  • Protects investments from unnecessary repairs (each has an environmental impact)
  • Works with an existing HVAC system (renew/reuse vs replace)
  • Raises appraisal or equity value of home/business
  • Potential advantage in competing for grants (home or business)
  • Contributes to Green Building ratings (with some banks and lending institutions, this qualifies the owner for reduced rates on a loan or mortgage) 

Establish a 100% of Cost Incentive COVID-19 Tax Credit for the Purchase and Installation of a Sensor Based SMART Air Quality Monitor and Ventilation Control System for New Construction and Upgrade of Existing HVAC Systems

The anticipated average national cost per HVAC system to install a sensor based SMART air quality monitor and ventilation control system including sensors, dampers and duct work ranges from $2,500 to $5,000. An incentive COVID-19 Tax Credit of up to 100% of the equipment and installation cost would provide low-rise commercial building owners, small businesses and home owners the financial assistance needed to enable them to install the equipment needed to safeguard their health and the health of all who enter their buildings.

We call upon American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), U.S. Green Building Council, ASTM International, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to promote and safeguard the health of homeowners, employers, workers, customers and their families by promulgating standards for

  • building ventilation
  • HVAC system design, installation, operation and monitoring
  • indoor and outdoor air quality monitoring
  • water quality monitoring
  • indoor and outdoor noise pollution monitoring

We further call for all such standards to include shared, pooled, geo-tagged, anonymized, IoT sensor Social Determinants of Health databases.

In addition, all the members of our management teams and boards of directors, as healthcare professionals, engineers, contractors or HVAC professionals, declare the following:

  • We support, affirm and endorse the statements of our colleagues and teammates with respect to the protection and safety in the fight against COVID-19 as expressed in this document.
  • We stand willing, ready and able to personally interview, evaluate, examine and treat every patient who presents for care.
  • We support and defend the professional and personal safety and security of every Healthcare Worker at every level of the healthcare system. To that end, we will act to ensure their safety and security, regardless of risks or repercussions.
  • We support and defend the healthcare security and personal safety of every patient. To that end, we will act to ensure their safety and security, regardless of risks or repercussions.
  • We support and defend the healthcare security and personal safety of every person who interacts with the healthcare system in any way. To that end, we will act to ensure their safety and security, regardless of risks or
    repercussions.
  • We support and defend the professional and personal safety and security of every Essential Worker at every level of the economy and every aspect of the National Response Framework. To that end, we will act to ensure their
    safety and security, regardless of risks or repercussions.

Unanimously resolved by our boards, this 5th day of May, 2020.

William Carson, Jr., GC
President, Natural Air E-Controls, Inc.

Allison A Sakara, RN, MSN, NP, PHRN
Chief Operating Officer, Natural Air E-Controls, inc
Executive Director, High Alert Institute, Inc.

Maurice A. Ramirez, DO, PhD
Emeritus Medical Director, High Alert Institute, Inc.
Recipient, Lifetime Achievement Award in Disaster Medicine

Mona R. Kelley, RN, MSN
Corporate Secretary/Treasurer, Natural Air E-Controls, Inc.
Treasurer, High Alert Institute, Inc.

Michael V. Bivins, EE
Vice-President for Product Development, Natural Air E-Controls, Inc.

Jonathan Carson, CAC
Vice-President for Building Solutions, Natural Air E-Controls, Inc.

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