In his last speech NYS Governor Cuomo states that HVAC systems could pose potential risk of spreading Corona virus. The mall HVAC system is similar or the same system that is used in hospitals, medical buildings, laboratories, office buildings, grocery stores, home improvement stores, discount retail shops, and any other commercial properties. The air quality in the mall would be equivalent or better in comparison to these locations. Our systems are of similar size and capacity and cover the same square footage per unit as any other building in New York State. The individual stores have their own systems just as they do in strip centers and office parks. Each mall property can be disabled from “Demand Ventilation Control,” which controls the levels of CO-2 in space and all fresh air dampers will be opened to a predetermined set point. This will allow for a higher rate of outside air to the space. Programming and control changes will be made through our Building Management system (BMS). The return or inside air will be reduced proportionally to the amount of fresh air.
The malls have upgraded their system several times over the years and change the filters on a regular scheduled basis. We use high quality, medical grade MERV filters. We keep a record of filter changes and upgrades. According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), this filtration helps provide healthier indoor air quality and traps and collect large and small particles such as dust, allergens and microorganisms. Particle filtration can lower the concentration of infectious airborne particles that spread many communicable illnesses, which is why some models suggest that it can "substantially decrease the portion of disease transmission caused by these small particles."
Our system exceeds what most commercial buildings are using. If the Governor’s advisors are performing studies on air quality in malls, then we would like an opportunity to participate or have someone from the industry represent malls. To our knowledge, there has been no participation from anyone in the shopping center industry.
The Governor’s other reason for not opening malls is that he thinks they are social gathering places. We have the ability to monitor and control occupancy through software and staffing. On a normal basis, the malls do not have visitors that socially congregate in large groups. In July, the mall usually has less people than a grocery or discount store.
We are willing to do anything the Governor asks to re-open and will have no problem meeting any mandates that are required.