How the Current Pandemic Has Prompted the HVAC Industry 

Chris Olmsted

Sales Manager, Facility Services Group

15 April 2020

It’s hard to miss the headlines these days. The global Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has the world on pins-and-needles waiting to see what will happen next. Information is changing and updating hourly on the total number of cases, local stay-at-home restrictions, available PPE gear and potential testing capacities. So, how is the HVAC industry responding to the crisis?

At UMC, we’re finding that our ethos of loving a good puzzle rings true now more than ever. The key to providing clients with a consistent experience during difficult times starts with acting early, acting fast and finding alternative solutions to improve the reliability and efficiency of their HVAC systems and the safety of their critical spaces. So, what does that look like? Should you be worried about air quality, sanitation or other COVID-19 cautions in your buildings?

The short answer: You’ve got bigger things to worry about, especially now. In the past few weeks, I am proud to see UMC’s essential critical infrastructure workers go above and beyond to make our clients’ lives a little easier during this stressful and uncertain time. They are handling clients’ building HVAC and safety issues with rapid responses and inventive alternatives. A few of their successes include:

  • Converting existing areas to isolation rooms at Swedish to be used as a medical quarantine area
  • Providing cost-saving measures by purchasing alternative systems than were the original scope to save a hotel client $$$ when a motor control unit went out
  • Troubleshooting existing controls systems and stepping in to provide emergency adjustments as needed while facilities are empty
  • Developing a remote training series that is tailored and specific to our clients’ facilities
  • Creating guidance on Return to Work Planning for buildings and construction sites

In this unpredictable climate, we’re seeing many businesses and building owners having to make unprecedented choices—ones that are not conducive to healthy business planning or healthy buildings. One of those choices is whether to hold off on crucial building maintenance. We are working to help make those building maintenance decisions easier through predictive and proactive maintenance, emergency controls adjustments and finding less costly equipment options. Our goal is to help clients avoid long-term, expensive issues once the COVID-19 crisis passes.

We’re all navigating uncharted waters, together. COVID-19 is a new virus, but UMC has been navigating the complexity of the built environment since 1920. That is a century of innovation where many unexpected world events have led us to develop quick and inventive solutions that are as unique as the facilities themselves.

UMC’s teams are trained in precautionary measures needed to eliminate the spread of viruses and are developing proactive, cost-saving solutions for facilities around the Pacific Northwest.

I expect the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic will change the way our industry thinks not only about safety precautions, but how we deploy solutions to our clients. As a community, we will see more focus on developing solutions built for resilience. Our teams are responding today and will continue to respond with quick, nimble and professional acumen.

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