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Smart Building Agility in Times of Crisis to Keep Workplaces Healthy and Safe by Schneider Electric

Hugh Lindsay

It’s an understatement to say that 2020 was an extreme test of the stability and resilience of many workplace infrastructure systems and smart buildings that we had otherwise taken as inconsequential.

In particular, the topic of healthy and safe workspaces has vaulted to the forefront of concern for anyone who wants or needs to return to an office.

On top of this, these concerns have to fit within a whole new definition of what healthy and safe means with a whole new set of space management and air quality criteria to monitor and manage.

The fundamentals for smart buildings haven’t changed. Workplaces still need to focus on sustainability, energy efficiency, and comfort. 

However, the specific measures and tolerances related to the occupant well-being are clearly more articulate and demand a greater attention to detail than was the best practice just a few months ago.

Arc Re-Entry Guidance

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed this human occupant health & safety topic to the top of the list for everyone who works in an office.

New infection control policies and procedures had to be developed, modified methods for operating and tracking indoor air quality are recommended by organizations like ASHRAE.

And more generally, it has become essential that workers are offered the opportunity to express their levels of comfort and confidence in how well these new practices are being implemented.

In response, the Green Building Certification Inc. (GBCI) organization (the creators of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, among others) and their partner company, Arc Skoru, leveraged their digital reporting platform and developed a set of criteria to guide and measure the effectiveness of workplace safety best practices and implementations.

Known as Arc Re-Entry, the program provides the guidance needed to:

  1. document and benchmark infection control policies and procedures,

  2. collect and analyze related occupant experiences, and

  3. measure and track indoor air quality, with a focus on particulate measurements and concentrations.

The result is a performance score that a Facilities Management team can leverage to focus their efforts on continuous improvement of their workplace infrastructure. Overall the program is simple, effective and fundamentally data driven.

At Schneider Electric, as an Arc Integration Partner, we developed and documented a method for EcoStruxure Building Operation (EBO) users to link with and participate in the Arc Re-Entry program, leveraging our Schneider Electric Exchange platform for the data management and exchange with their smart building.

The application note (available through this link) details how the program works and provides the methods that our BMS Services teams and our EcoXpert partners can follow to connect existing and new EcoStruxure Building Operation installations to Arc.

Rapidly Manage Shifting Workplace Infrastructure Priorities Through Partnership

For us, the ability to rapidly adapt to these shifting priorities is a benefit of our focus on open building management systems and complimented by the ecosystem of partners that we are constantly expanding in smart buildings.

I strongly encourage you reach out to your local Schneider Electric Smart Buildings Team or one of our EcoXpert BMS partners to learn more about how to make your workplaces healthier and safer.

Visit our #BuildingsOfTheFuture website to learn more about Schneider Electric’s solutions for healthy buildings or download our whitepaper on Ensuring Occupant Health which details key findings from our global study of 21 office buildings.

Don’t forget to visit our building management page on the Schneider Electric blog as well as all our articles about smart buildings.

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