Considerations, Best Practices, and Energy Implications for Reopening Critical Community Facilities in the Pandemic

Creating safe, healthy workplaces for employees and communities is paramount as buildings reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Available guidance on safe building operations is complex and evolving, which makes it difficult to understand how to prepare buildings for safe operations – and why the recommended practices are effective. This webinar highlights the science behind the virus and how it is transmitted, key building technologies and practices that should be considered to mitigate the virus and the energy impacts of these best practices. The webinar provides facility managers and engineers, administrators, maintenance personnel, and other stakeholders with practical measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in buildings, as well as the justification to put these best practices into action. Webinar speakers include Dr. Helen Nguyen, Dr. Ty Newell, and Robert Nemeth.

Access the webinar slides here.
Access responses to questions raised at the webinar here.

 Dr. Helen Nguyen is the Ivan Racheff endowed Professor and Chair of the Environmental Engineering and Science Program, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Nguyen teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in environmental engineering, with an emphasis on physico-chemical processes for water and wastewater treatments. Her research interests include pathogens and biofilms in drinking water distribution systems, pathogen profiles after natural disasters, and water and food safety. Dr. Nguyen is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors. Dr. Nguyen holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, an M.S. in Earth and Environmental Science (U of I at Chicago), and a B.S. in Geology. She is a faculty advisor for Engineers without Borders.

Dr. Ty Newell is co-owner and co-founder of Build Equinox, a company devoted to inventing technologies for healthy, comfortable and sustainable living. He retired from the University of Illinois in 2007 as an Assistant Dean in the College of Engineering, having advised 70 masters and doctoral graduate students, and is an emeritus professor of mechanical engineering. His degrees are in mechanical engineering (BS, ’74, University of Michigan and MS/PhD, ’78/’80, University of Utah). He has lectured around the world on indoor air quality, comfort, solar energy, building energy efficiency, and resource conservation. Ty has been a Fulbright Scholar at the Universidad Nacional de Salta in Argentina, an Ercotaf Scholar (European Union) at the EPFL in Lausanne Switzerland, a United Nations Workshop Leader in Beijing China, an Academic Leader at the Tec de Monterrey Institute in Queretaro Mexico, and an advisor to the USAID NZEB project Universidad Centroamericana (UCA), El Salvador. Ty lives in a 100% solar powered home in Urbana, Illinois that features automated fresh air control (CERV), two Electric Vehicles (Ford Focus EV and Ford C-Max Energi, also 100% solar energy powered), and is the first home within an Illinois muicipality to be permitted for rainwater harvesting use. Build Equinox is located in a 4500 sqft Morton building in Urbana that is also 100% solar powered.

Robert Nemeth is SEDAC’s Technical Director, overseeing facility site visits, energy assessment reports, retro-commissioning studies, and staff training to make sure SEDAC’s engineers stay up to date on the latest energy efficiency technologies. He also develops educational content for webinars, workshops, and courses. Robert’s experience includes working with the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois for HUD and helping to investigate mold, moisture and energy-related problems in Native American Housing. He also worked for the US Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory as a researcher in the Energy Systems Division and has worked as an architect and in the construction and cabinet-making industries. He has rebuilt several houses, one a historical residence. Robert was a licensed Architect in Illinois, and holds a B.S. in Architecture, a Masters of Architecture, and an M.S. in Civil Engineering, all from the University of Illinois. He has taught building technology courses at the University of Illinois and at Parkland College.


Aug 18 2020

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COVID-19 Webinar
Webinar Recording