The 22-story Wells Fargo Center in downtown Norfolk, Virginia is home to B&N’s Norfolk office, and several other tenants including retailers, luxury apartments and office suites.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, some building owners have taken a closer look at how to enhance building systems to be more resilient. To ensure that the air quality is improved to the highest levels for its tenants and to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, other viruses and allergens, the Wells Fargo Center management contracted B&N to investigate room for improvement focusing on the HVAC and air handling systems.
Prior to improvements, each central air handling unit supplied a combination of recirculated building return air and code-required outside air to all occupied spaces. Each unit exchanges air multiple times an hour during all occupied hours. Units are also equipped with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended MERV-13 filters.
After discussions with the client regarding advanced safety measures, needlepoint bipolar ionization devices were integrated into each of the 11 existing air handling units to improve occupant health and building resiliency. The technology utilizes specialized tubes that take oxygen molecules from the air and convert them into charged atoms that then cluster around microparticles, surrounding and deactivating harmful substances like airborne mold, bacteria, allergens, and viruses. They also attach to expelled breath droplets and dust particles that can transport viruses, enlarging them so they're more easily caught in filters. It's an active process that provides continuous disinfection. The technology has proven effective against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
These technology updates now allow the Wells Fargo Center Management to provide its tenants with an even safer working environment that helps reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.