Property Management

Page 20 — Property Management Quarterly — October 2021 Wellness I n 2019, Colorado’s commercial real estate market reached an all-time high. In the first quar- ter of 2020, nearly 3.7 million square feet of new office space began construction. Then the pandemic hit. Restric- tions were put in place. Office capacity was capped at 50% and workstations had to be spaced at least 6 feet apart. Now, as the state emerges from lockdown, the local economy needs a wholesale reopening of business. It’s widely accepted that for companies to thrive they need a physical presence. Personal con- tact and face-to-face brainstorming stimulate innovation and champion corporate culture. Most companies, therefore, want their staff to come back into the office, at least on a part-time basis, so that their real estate assets can once again add value to the bottom line. n Resistance is building. But work- ers have gotten used to working from home and virtual meetings. Attitudes have changed. The real estate sector will have to make changes too, or it will lose out. Workers are resisting companies’ attempts to lure them back into the office, and it’s even been suggested in a recent Bloomberg article that some employees will quit instead of giving up working from home. That may be a stretch, but for many who do want to come back, at least for part of the week, infection control measures are critical. COVID-19 is mainly spread through the air. Just as people expect pure water from the tap, they now expect clean air at their place of work. If companies are to reap value from their office space, clean air needs to top of the facili- ties management agenda. n A practical indoor air quality solution. The pur- suit of clean air may give compa- nies a headache, caught between the remit of their own company and that of their property managing agent. Fortunately, there is a simple solution. The World Health Organization recommends that an air purifier should be used to close the gap between the minimum liters per person per second requirement and what any existing ventilation pro- vides. Companies can add portable air purifiers without affecting the fabric of the building. Working in tandem with HVAC systems, these can easily provide the optimum cumulative air change per hour rate. n HEPA filtration traps COVID-19. With many air purifier devices on the market, companies need guid- ance on the right technology. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites portable filtration units that combine a HEPA filter with a powered fan system as a preferred option. “While these systems do not bring in outdoor dilution air, they are effective at cleaning air within spaces to reduce the concentration of airborne particulates, including SARS-CoV-2 viral particles. Thus, they give effective air exchanges without the need for conditioning outdoor air,” according to the CDC website. The diameter of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been found to range from 0.05 to 0.14 microns, and research by NASA proves that HEPA fil- ters are most efficient at captur- ing ultrafine particles below 0.3 microns in size, as well as larger particles. The larger sizes are argu- ably more important as the virus is mainly carried in respiratory drop- lets, over 10 microns in size, that protect it from evaporation. n Ultraviolet light kills COVID-19. Having trapped the virus, it must then be destroyed. The CDC recom- mends ultraviolet germicidal irra- diation as a disinfection tool, “when designed and installed correctly.” Combined with HEPA filtration, UVC light is able to destroy all virus par- ticles that are trapped and held in place. Devices that use UVC alone, sometimes referred to as “fly-by- kill” products, do not subject viruses to UVC light long enough to guaran- tee inactivation because they are a moving target. How clean air can revive Colorado’s real estate Frederik Hendriksen Co-founder, Rensair Just as people expect pure water from the tap, they now expect clean air at their place of work. Please see Hendriksen, Page 22