Unlocking Lockdown

Kickstart your office facilities

Thousands of buildings will slowly begin to reopen in the coming weeks after a significant period of inactivity. This inactivity does not only refer to people but also to the facilities which are key to a functional and comfortable office area such as boilers, HVAC systems as well as water tanks and associated pipework.

Tackling the issues

In older buildings, and those with boiler fed heating systems, the sudden loss of demand will undoubtedly affect the HVAC systems. The biggest issue facing facilities and building managers is the threat of legionella from standing water in the pipework. There is substantial guidance on the CIBSE website (Chartered Institute for Building Services Engineers) which offers advice for risk management and system restart which will be a useful tool. It may be as simple as restarting the system at a lower temperature for the first few days or buildings may require the entire system to be flushed out and re-filled to ensure no microbial growth.

To avoid large energy costs, restarting the system at a reduced temperature is the more desirable measure however it is essential that building service engineers and facility managers check with their boiler procedure or manufacturer.


CIBSE website guidance

The guidance on the CIBSE website provided by heating system manufacturers is as follows:

  • Implement a weekly maintenance programme to ensure heating systems work as they should when buildings are reactivated
  • Carry out a visual inspection of plant once a week
  • Allow the domestic hot water to reach 60oC for one hour once a week to prevent bacteria forming
  • Keep moving parts, such as pumps, operating for 10 minutes once a week to help prevent seizing
  • 24 hours before reactivating the building open all the outlets until they reach at least 55°C to ensure all stagnant water is removed
  • Carry out microbiological sampling to ensure there is no contamination of the hot water supply
  • Chlorinate the hot-water system to remove legionella, if needed

Keeping costs down

Reducing energy costs in the initial few months of building reoccupation will be an important consideration to both large companies and SMEs. The restart is an ideal opportunity to evaluate your baseload energy use during lockdown where you can see what has been consuming energy in the background. This can be done using half hourly data (HHD) if available or from monthly meter readings therefore taking a manual reading as soon as possible will be extremely useful for evaluation.

Businesses should take this opportunity to optimise control systems such as heating, air conditioning or air handling units to determine an operation which will not be based around comfort levels but the best temperature for building fabric and avoid wasted heat. This will not only help to abate microbial growth but will also ensure your ventilation and heating systems are not overwhelmed and reduce energy consumption and costs! Office behaviours and building occupation will change significantly over the next year and therefore the benefits to businesses can be substantial if realised early.

Expert knowledge and practical advice - The Boxfish Way

The start up recommendations provided here involve no upfront capital investment and may provide the vital cost savings required to kick start your business or fund your low carbon energy generation projects. Changing the way businesses look at energy and water consumption is extremely important to avoid drastic fluctuations, volume tolerance issues and market instability and Boxfish are here to help.

Boxfish are a safe pair of hands to assess your current energy consumption, provide recommendations for energy efficiency and get the best deal for you with suppliers. Our experienced consultants and engineers consider each business as an individual project and using expert knowledge provide clients with practical advice in energy markets and efficiency solutions.

Email us at hello@weareboxfish.com
or call 0141 226 8525


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