Ventilation In 21 New York City Schools Need Work

Ventilation can help us all breathe easier. Buildings across the country have been working hard to bring workers and students back safely. Schools have had a unique opportunity to get things right; time. How have schools done with the summer months to reopen?

In April, New York City was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and the world. For weeks, its healthcare system was held together by sheer determination, with millions of people observing strict lockdown guidelines to flatten the curve. One of the earliest moves was to close schools across the city, a reaction that put a strain on all residents. The strain was worth it. Today, New York City and indeed New York state seems to be one of the most successful locations to have dealt with its outbreak.

However, all of that progress could be put into jeopardy over the coming weeks. Tens of thousands of students are heading back to school in-person. Earlier this summer, school officials pushed back the official start of face-to-face instruction to give educators and administration more time to adjust, test, and prepare. Just this week, however, twenty-one schools across the city advised teachers to stay home. Staff had been reporting to schools to prepare for school and to undergo annual professional development classes. 

There is optimism that even the worst of those twenty-one schools could still be safe by the September 21 back-to-school date. The administration is working with a number of local contractors to make the necessary ventilation and HVAC improvements necessary to get those facilities up to the COVID-19 standards now in place. 

While children currently account for just 3.3% of New York City’s coronavirus cases, that low rate of illness is likely thanks to such quick school closures and strict guidelines that canceled everything from class to team sports to events. To get back to school safely, proper HVAC and ventilation systems, including adequate air purification fixtures, will be vital. 

At Keen, we’ve been working with Michigan schools and businesses to keep people safe. To learn more, call us today to schedule your COVID-19 consultation.

air pollution

Air Pollution Reduces Solar Energy Efficiency. COVID-19 Gives Us A Chance To Find Out How Much.

While they’d never have wished for it, the pandemic and subsequent shutdowns have given climate scientists an opportunity to study pollution like never before. When it comes to solar energy, the findings could be critical. 

Around the world, countries responded to the rising threat of the coronavirus with economic and social shutdowns like never before. Entire economies didn’t just wind down, they slammed into a wall. That economic stop has left tens of millions of Americans out of work and drastic stimulus plans rushing through governments in every corner of the globe. Almost no business is unaffected, and industries like manufacturing, transportation, and others have been some of the worst hit. 

There is a silver lining, at least. The stoppage has allowed for an unprecedented drop in air pollution. In urban centers, the lack of traffic and other causes of smog have all but stopped, and the result has been staggering. Even in some of the most polluted cities on earth, locals have noticed better breathing quality and better visibility. For researchers, however, it’s offered the chance to do a lot more than just take a deep breath. 

For example, solar energy scientists jumped at the chance to study just how much solar panels are impacted by air pollution. One study focused on the air quality of Delhi, India, one of the most polluted cities in one of the most polluted industrial countries. The drastic lockdown measures taken by the Indian government offered a clean, easy-to-identify timeline for air pollution levels, giving scientists a way to get a closer look at how they affect efficiency. 

The study found that 950 Watts/square meter of sunlight reached panels in late March, up from an average of 880 W/sm over that same time period in 2017, 2018, and 2019. That’s an 8% increase, which is nothing if not substantial. In fact, an 8% increase is comparable to the difference in sunlight, on average, between Houston, Texas, and Toronto in Canada. 

It highlights how much impact pollution plays in the future of solar energy. By reducing the energy production of solar panels, that power needs to be produced by other means. Often, that means relying on fossil fuels that contribute even more pollution to the air, reducing solar production even more. It’s a vicious cycle, but there’s hope in the recent findings that air pollution can clear quickly, but only if producers stop creating such incredible amounts of smog. 

Of course, there’s more good to be gained from reducing air pollution beyond better solar power. Air pollution affects the health of tens of millions of people around the world, even contributing to less successful outcomes for coronavirus patients. The world spends billions of dollars a year treating people with respiratory illnesses and cancers connected to air pollution. 

The lesson is clear. All it will take to improve many of our environmental challenges is commitment. We simply can’t wait for a health emergency and a stunted economy to drive the change. Learn more about how Keen Technical Solutions can help your company be a part of that change, from solar energy to energy storage and beyond.

Innovation Beats Hard Times: Share Your Stories

energy Keen coronovirus

At KEEN, it’s all about energy. That means so much more than kilowatt-hours. We believe that innovation simply can’t be born without challenge and without need. If necessity is the mother of all inventions, then adversity is the father. 

That’s why we’re going to spend the next couple of weeks highlighting just a few companies we’ve worked with that have stepped up in times of crisis. They’re offering their customers new services, new products, and new solutions just when the world needs the creativity, the inspiration, and the bravery that it takes to make big changes. 

From our brewery and distillery friends make an on-the-spot switch to hand sanitizer and disinfectants to restaurants developing completely new online, curbside, and delivery systems to keep their operations moving, there are countless stories of businesses thinking ahead. We know that if you’re not adapting, you’re already falling behind. Under the heightened pressure of this health crisis, that has implications that go well beyond business and impacts people’s lives. 

If you’re a business that’s taken steps to ensure the safety of your team and your clients, we want to hear from you. If you’ve made the move from one industry to another, or if you’ve made efforts to support the medical professionals battling on the frontlines to save lives in our area clinics and hospitals, we want to hear from you. 

What we need now are the success stories. The world needs the hope that life, health, and business will return to normal, and that leaders in every industry are working to offer that hope through fresh thinking and bold innovation. Send us your COVID-19 stories to csovis@keen-minds.com and we’ll let the world know what you’re doing and let them know how they can help. And thank you for bringing the right energy to a world that needs positivity and inspiration.

Learn more about our efforts over the phone.

Keen Is Working To Keep Our People Safe

covid-19

COVID-19 has been a challenge for everyone. At Keen Technical Solutions, we value our relationships more than anything. From our team, to our partners, to our suppliers, and especially to our clients, we always put people first. As all of us face the growing concerns and dangers of the coronavirus, we wanted to update on our efforts to protect the people we care about. 

First, we highly recommend that everyone adhere to the most up-to-date guidelines and recommendations from the CDC. Your state or local government may also have additional recommendations or insight based on the current conditions in your area. 

We’re doing our part. Internally, we’re all working from home or from the road more than usual to reduce any risk of passing along the virus internally. We’ve always depended on mobility to effectively serve our clients, relying on telecommunications for years to keep our team connected. That has put us in a position to take our office closure almost entirely in stride. 

It has become even more of a priority for us to protect our team and our clients on the job site. Many of our on-going maintenance and continuing projects are classified as essential. We’ve worked hard to responsibly balance health, safety, and progress. Any and all staff have been instructed to stay home if they feel sick in any way, or if they have family members who aren’t well. Workers with travel to known outbreak areas have also been instructed not to come in for work. 

On each project, we’ve also made a renewed effort to clean and disinfect the job site when we start work and when we finish. Any contact with clients respects the six-foot distance recommended by health officials, and we’ve adopted as many digital forms and communications to reduce the need for in-person discussion as much as possible. 

We are constantly reviewing the latest information on the pandemic in order to make the best decision for our clients and our workforce on a day-to-day basis. We’re also carefully tracking our own practices in order to do even more to keep everyone safe. 

From the whole Keen Technical Solutions family, be safe, be healthy, and if we can do anything to help you during these tough times, please reach out.