HVAC manufacturer RenewAire scores 'Top WorkPlace'
The 35-year-old firm is a leading manufacturer of IAQ equipment, such as the DN-Series dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) it installed for three employee-occupied areas–the 800-square-foot fitness room, 1,300-square-foot café and 2,500-square-foot sales training classroom. RenewAire employees acknowledged this IAQ perk and other workplace benefits, when surveyed by the WSJ’s Top WorkPlace research compiling partner, Energage, Exton, Pa. Renewaire was one of only 27 firms out of 779 southern Wisconsin company invitees receiving Top Workplaces of 2019 recognition.
The DN Series, a non-compressorized, fully integrated modular DOAS offering a variety of flexible mix-and-match component options, helps provide the healthy work environment in RenewAire’s new 111,000-square-foot building that is Energy Star-certified, a winner of three Green Globes, and an applicant for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold. It reduces indoor air contaminants at its headquarters in Waunakee, Wisconsin, by adding more outdoor air far beyond ASHRAE Standard 62.1 recommendations while also conditioning it energy-efficiently with energy recovery. The facility’s HVAC systems operate well below the expected and modeled energy profile for this type of building and size.
Contaminants, and especially CO2, decrease employee cognitive functions and productivity when surpassing 1,000-ppm, according to a 2015 study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston. Consequently, CO2 levels commonly recorded in many commercial/industrial buildings at 1,000 to 2,000-ppm or greater, have been reduced to an average of 550-ppm at RenewAire, which is 450-ppm below the maximum amount recommended by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
While numbers are difficult to apply to human well-being, RenewAire employees reportedly feel and smell the difference. “I noticed I can run six to eight-percent faster on my workplace treadmill versus treadmills at commercial gyms,” says Lucas Marston, a 34-year-old chain supply analyst at RenewAire. “I also don’t smell the perspiration and bleach odors of other gyms.”
Airborne contaminant reduction is also critical in the 100-person, 2,500-square-foot sales training room where CO2 levels can potentially spike well beyond healthy levels during meetings and require dilution with outdoor air.
“RenewAire’s own headquarters has set a precedent that will help us continue to be the HVAC industry’s sounding board on reducing excessive workplace CO2 levels,” says Nick Agopian, vice president of sales and marketing, RenewAire.