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Top tips for managing buildings during lockdown

By Jon Webb
13th January 2021

Have you got a strategy in place to manage your buildings during lockdown and to prepare your teams for reoccupation?

With COVID-19 lockdown measures in place once again it is crucial to maintain clear insight into your building operations as facility management teams continue to be challenged to save cost and emissions whilst also managing health & safety onsite. Here are Carbon Intelligence’s top tips for how to balance these priorities, both during and after the lockdown.


It is highly recommended that all time-schedules are reviewed and tailored to the requirements for each area:

  • Where zones are not in use and there is no risk of airborne virus transmission, consider reducing the ventilation schedule (e.g., 1 hour each weekday) to save energy and maintain the plant equipment.
  • Where there is reduced occupancy hours CIBSE recommends there is 2 hours operation before and after the core hours to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Where main plant has their own schedules ensure these align with the requirements from the different Zones within the building.


The latest CIBSE guidance recommends operating air handling units (AHUs) to maintain a maximum of 800ppm CO₂ in low/reduced occupancy areas to minimise the risk of airborne virus. This could potentially enable reduced AHU ventilation rates although consideration of system capabilities, space condition monitoring and air balancing across floors will be required.


Some AHUs re-circulate a proportion of air back from spaces. CIBSE guidance states that it is preferable not to re-circulate air but that a balance may need to be struck between fresh air and re-circulation to maintain comfort conditions in spaces.


CIBSE guidance initially recommended that thermal wheels should be switched off. However, the latest guidance states that thermal wheels can be used if it can be shown that there is no leakage from extract to supply, or if the thermal wheel is required to maintain comfort conditions.


Chilled water systems often operate according to the schedule requirements of the building but during this lockdown there is the triple impact from colder outside air temperatures, reduced heat gains in the spaces and different schedule requirements that may mean chilled water systems are not required.


Further Resources


We can help

We recommend our Smart Buildings Programme for any site going through lockdown to save cost and emissions, last year we supported our clients to reduce their energy consumption by up 70% during low occupancy and provide the data insights they needed whilst managing buildings remotely.

We are here to help support you through this lockdown and be ready for when doors open again, contact us at [email protected] or [email protected]