How Sustainable Are COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies for Buildings?

A conclusion to our conversation series New Perspectives on Health & Well-being features a discussion between Dr. Joseph G. Allen (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) and the series’ building industry experts. 

Over eight weeks of early Tuesday morning conversations, industry experts presented an overview of a specific COVID-19 mitigation topic, through a sustainability lens. The conversations with attendees that followed addressed issues like what building owners are asking for, which solutions are proving most effective, and how these strategies measure up against various sustainability imperatives. In addition to the priority of human health through reduced viral transmission, we discussed the long-term impacts on health (like ozone and UV exposure), the environment (like GHG emissions from increased energy use), and the economy (capital as well as operational cost). 

Optimally, building industry professionals in practice look holistically at all aspects of impact when making decisions. So to close the conversation series, we are bringing back all of our industry expert presenters for a final 90-minute discussion. Dr. Allen will begin with an introductory 15-minute presentation to set the stage for over an hour of discussion with the previous presenters and the building engineering and design community at large. Please join us as we debate the merits of various COVID-19 mitigation strategies, their sustainability impacts, and suggestions for moving forward addressing health and sustainability in the built environment.

This Panel Will Feature…

Air Filtration: John Swift, Principal, Buro Happold Engineering

Fresh Air: Patrick Murphy, Director of Sustainable Design, Vanderweil Engineers

Humidity Control: Nora McCawley, Mechanical Engineer, Buro Happold Engineering

Pressurization: Paul Tsang, Director of Engineering, Jacobs

UV Light: Eric Edman, Senior Associate, BR+A Consulting Engineers

Air Monitoring: Kathleen Hetrick, Sr. Sustainability Engineer, Buro Happold Engineering

Antimicrobials: Monica Nakielski, Dir., Sustainability and Enviro. Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Cleaning PracticesTim Conway, Vice President Sustainability, Shaw Industries

Thank you to the DLR Group for sponsoring this event.

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* If there is a financial hardship and you are interested in attending, please reach out to us at [email protected] *

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Leading Health Organizations Recommend the Use of Hand Dryers

Written by Excel Dryer

Excel Dryer sets the record straight: Hand dryers are hygienic, but misinformation persists

East Longmeadow, Mass. – The topic of hygiene has come to the forefront in mainstream media as reopening plans are introduced around the globe. While leading health organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommend the use of hand dryers, misinformation about them remains online, and continues to be quoted and perpetuated. Leaders from Excel Dryer, manufacturer of XLERATOR® Hand Dryers, wish to deliver a message to educate the professionals, consultants and government officials who are creating reopening guidelines, and the general public, especially in times of COVID-19: Excel hand dryers are a safe, hygienic touchless solution and an effective way to achieve completely dry hands, a critical part of proper hand hygiene, the top defense against the spread of germs.

Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., Professor and Department Chair at the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona, offered an explanation as to the root of these misconceptions, stating that, “Consumers may only read [sensationalized] headlines which can influence public opinion toward biased or erroneous conclusions, [but] the fact is, the breadth of data available does not favor one hand drying method as being more hygienic or safer.”

Excel hand dryers provide a touchless hand drying solution to help prevent potential cross-contamination between restroom surfaces and wet hands. All dryers in Excel’s line are hygienic, but dryers with HEPA have been proven to add another level of protection. Viral efficiency testing conducted by the preeminent independent air media and filter testing company, LMS Technologies in April of 2020 found that XLERATOR®, XLERATOReco® and XLERATORsync® Hand Dryers with HEPA Filtration Systems remove 99.999 percent of viruses from the airstream. 

William Gagnon, vice president of marketing and sales at Excel Dryer, wishes to correct misinformation and biases about hand dryers. “Hand dryers are hygienic and have been used to properly dry hands for decades. In addition to top health organizations recommending their use, hand dryers also provide significant benefits over paper that are undisputable. For example, our recent test results prove XLERATOR hand dryers with HEPA Filtration Systems remove 99.999 percent of viruses from the airstream, something paper will never be able to do.”

Conversely, paper towels may not be as hygienic as the public believes. One independent study showed 17 species of bacteria on unused, recycled paper towels, including Bacillus, which can cause food poisoning. After their use, damp paper towels are a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria in and around trash receptacles and can be used to clog toilets and sinks creating a very unhygienic restroom environment. If the paper towels are out of stock, visitors cannot dry their hands at all, and wet hands have been shown to be 1,000 times more likely to transfer germs than dry hands.

Gagnon concluded, “I encourage members of the public and those individuals charged with the creation of guidelines, reopening plans or facilities operations, to dive deeper into news articles and hygiene studies rather than simply believing sensationalized, click-bait headlines born from biased results. Hand dryers are safe and hygienic. They dry hands completely, and are a top defense against the spread of germs.”


About Excel Dryer, Inc.

Excel Dryer has been manufacturing the finest American-made hand dryers for more than 50 years. The family-owned and -operated company revolutionized the industry with the invention of the patented XLERATOR® Hand Dryer that created the high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryer category and set a new standard for performance, reliability and customer satisfaction. Excel Dryer prides itself on offering the best customer service and making hygienic, cost-effective and sustainable products people can depend on. Available for distribution worldwide, Excel Dryer products can be purchased through an established network of sales representatives who call on more than 5,000 distributors globally. Learn more about Excel Dryer at exceldryer.com.

Conversation Series: New Perspectives on Health & Well-being | Air Monitoring

Join our community for a series of early morning conversations with coffee in hand. Each discussion will be led by an expert who will dive deep into one aspect of health and well-being in the built environment with a sustainability overlay. As we adapt our built environment to address virus mitigation we must ensure that the solutions are sustainable. We are stronger and wiser together. Please add your voice to the conversation.

Our goal is to summarize the conversations in a series of brief white papers that will help inform the building industry.

This session will  focus on “air monitoring” – Jim Stanislaski, Architect | Gensler, will be facilitating the conversation and Kathleen Hetrick, Senior Sustainability Engineer | Buro Happold Engineering, will be speaking.

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Conversation Series: New Perspectives on Health & Well-being | UV Light

Join our community for a series of early morning conversations with coffee in hand. Each discussion will be led by an expert who will dive deep into one aspect of health and well-being in the built environment with a sustainability overlay. As we adapt our built environment to address virus mitigation we must ensure that the solutions are sustainable. We are stronger and wiser together. Please add your voice to the conversation.

Our goal is to summarize the conversations in a series of brief white papers that will help inform the building industry.

This session will  focus on “UV light” – Joëlle Jahn, Senior Sustainability Consultant; WSP Built Ecology, will be facilitating and Joe Dussault, Associate Principal; BR+A Consulting Engineers, will be speaking.

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Conversation Series: New Perspectives on Health & Well-being | Pressurization

Join our community for a series of early morning conversations with coffee in hand. Each discussion will be led by an expert who will dive deep into one aspect of health and well-being in the built environment with a sustainability overlay. As we adapt our built environment to address virus mitigation we must ensure that the solutions are sustainable. We are stronger and wiser together. Please add your voice to the conversation.

Our goal is to summarize the conversations in a series of brief white papers that will help inform the building industry.

This session will  focus on “pressurization” – Betty Liu, Mechanical Engineer | Jacobs, will be facilitating the conversation and Paul Tsang, Director of Engineering | Jacobs, will be speaking.

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