Ontario Construction News staff writer
A western Ontario business says it has developed a system to help make buildings safe from COVID-19 and other infection risks.
ParticleOne, based in Guelph, says it helps businesses to develop “an effective game plan”, based on building science, air flow, ventilation, and viral transmission.
“Every building is unique, as is its risk level for outbreaks,” the company said in a statement last Thursday.
Environmental engineering firm RWDI says it developed ParticleOne in partnership with University of Guelph genomics scientist, Dr. Steven Newmaster, to inform its reopening plans for its 26 offices and three model shops around the world.
“ParticleOne builds on general Public Health guidance to address the complexity of distinct spaces, enabling business owners to make informed choices. By applying building science, data analytics, and computer modelling, ParticleOne creates an accurate profile of a space and offers clear, science-based guidance and solutions. The system accounts for the distinct layout, use, ventilation, and location of a building, while also calculating the future impacts of emerging variants, local infection and vaccination rates.”
“There is a lot of talk about what is ‘safe,’ but it is very hard to measure an invisible threat like COVID,” said Bronwyn Tolmie, owner of Pharmasave Elora Apocothary. “With ParticleOne’s analysis of our site, we are able to ‘see’ our risk level—and apply the necessary solutions to allow us to operate our business with confidence.”
The developers say the ParticleOne Platform:
- Provides oversite of multiple properties at once with a customized dashboard that indicates the risk of COVID transmission at each location;
- Runs thousands of simulations to compare the effectiveness of different safety measures, including HEPA filters, masks, occupancy levels and more; and
- Provides regular monitoring of all locations and alerts facility managers when action is needed.
“To prevent the high costs of employee absenteeism and closures, companies need to be prepared,” said Mike Williams, a building-performance engineer at both RWDI and ParticleOne. “But companies also need to appreciate that viral risks are dynamic. The plan you put in place this month may need to be adjusted next month. COVID is an ongoing threat that needs to be continually managed. Fortunately, we have the tools to manage it.”
ParticleOne is primarily focused on reducing the risk of COVID inside shared spaces, but its technology and solutions will also measure the risk for other common viruses and emerging pathogens, the company says.
“Well-prepared organizations recognize that monitoring pathogen risk is the new normal,” said RWDI president and CEO Michael J. Soligo. “But we also know first-hand, after five decades of consulting on ventilation, air quality and measuring containments, that the benefits of ‘cleaner air’ go well beyond COVID. Increased productivity, less absenteeism, and a healthier workforce ensures a healthier business overall.”