Smart building company Johnson Controls plans to pair its OpenBlue Healthy Buildings portfolio with a new collaboration between UL and SafeTraces.
In March 2021, UL and SafeTraces, which focuses on DNA-based safety technology, announced a new program to evaluate the effectiveness of their indoor air quality, ventilation and filtration systems and infection control strategies for airborne diseases, including coronaviruses, in K-12 schools.
Through the program, Johnson Controls, UL and SafeTraces aim to leverage indoor air quality and infection risk assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of mechanical systems in K-12 schools.
Johnson Controls said it offers K-12 administrators tailored services for the full building lifecycle through OpenBlue Schools, which integrates building IT, communications, administration and classroom learning systems with core building systems to create smart, connected schools. Examples of OpenBlue Schools solutions include predictive maintenance, contract tracing, social distance monitoring, mask detection and skin temperature screening.
“Education authorities, like many of us, are aware of and more responsive to the critical need to ensure healthy school buildings. But there is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy because school districts and the buildings they run are not homogenous,” said Nate Manning, Johnson Controls’ president of building solutions for North America. “Science-based data from air quality and risk assessments to building connected technology solutions will drive each component of this program, which will bring peace of mind to students, teachers, and families as schools reopen.”
“K-12 administrators and their facility managers are held to the highest standards of safety and rapidly evolving health regulation like never before. Through UL’s Healthy Building program, we have learned how the facility leaders who manage what they measure have far greater success managing risk than those who only address issues as they arise,” said Sean McCrady, director in UL’s Assets and Sustainability Performance, Real Estate and Properties group. “Not only will we equip K-12 administrators with independent evidence of the efficacy of their systems, but we can also now give them guidance to enhance their building operations into the future.”
UL’s Healthy Building program provides indoor environmental quality, energy and sustainability services for the built environment. In this instance, UL’s assessment consists of a comprehensive data review, HVAC system inspection, air quality testing, ventilation assessment, exhaust system verification, and risk assessment via SafeTraces veriDARTTM technology.
A core component of UL’s Healthy Building program, veriDARTTM by SafeTraces claims to be the first aerosol-based solution for verifying HVAC system performance for health and safety in real world environments. This solution leverages patented DNA-tagged bioaerosol tracers that simulate airborne pathogen mobility and exposure in order to identify potential infection hotspots, test ventilation and filtration efficacy, and inform safety and financial planning with independent science-based performance data.