CHICAGO , June 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Powering Chicago, the voice of the unionized electrical industry in Chicago and suburban Cook County , is continuing to power a safer workplace by providing essential electrical and contracting services to help the region’s businesses reopen safely. With changing state and local COVID restrictions, commercial properties are relying on Chicago’s union electricians and contractors to install and upgrade air filtration systems, integrate UV lighting and HVAC systems to filter outside air, and minimize risk with contactless points in the office. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested improved air filtration is one way employers can help reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in enclosed spaces.
“Our union members were essential before, during and after the pandemic and continue to help our area’s businesses employ safe offices as employees return to work,” said Elbert Walters, III , director, Powering Chicago. “Our work today is a continuation of our work earlier in the pandemic, when we helped restaurants and other businesses in the region with electrical modifications such as portable heaters, lights and contactless office features. We are proud of our union workers who are keeping Chicago and Cook County powered as we return to work.”
Powering Chicago’s The Contactless Office eBook highlights a variety of technology modifications that can be implemented at commercial properties to limit touchpoints in the office and generally make the environment safer for reentry as tenants return in the coming months. Examples of technologies that can be retrofitted at existing commercial properties or installed during new construction to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases include:
- Air filtration/HVAC controls – Powering Chicago’s members are integrating HVAC units and automating the process to filter fresh air from outside into the building – often overnight. Germicidal ultraviolet (UV) lights can be placed in HVAC vents to disinfect air as it is circulated through the system.
- Lighting modifications including UV light – UV lighting solutions can be installed as part of lighting fixtures, on push carts that can be moved around the office in mobile units or installed into the vents of HVAC systems to destroy coronaviruses as air is circulated through the building.
- A/V solutions – Rather than touching a control panel or shared remote control, union electricians can route the control of A/V systems and other technologies to personal mobile devices.
- Touch-free bathrooms – Bathrooms are a germy hazard zone in the best of times. Upgrading automatic transmissions in bathrooms of older buildings will provide more comfort and protection to employees.
- Sign-in kiosks for visitors with mobile integration – Reducing a potential risk without sacrificing safety and security, Powering Chicago members can assess if the desired location has the right power source within range and address if needed.
For the past year, Powering Chicago’s trained members have installed thermal camera screening systems to passively monitor for elevated body temperature among all those who pass through the area; germicidal ultraviolet lighting; air filtration and HVAC controls to automate the process to circulate external air through the building; touch-free light switches, bathroom fixtures and elevator controls; and automatic doors, among others.
As employees return, they report a need to feel safe and secure in the office. A recent survey conducted by Envoy and Wakefield Research found two-thirds of employees say they are worried about their health and safety when it comes to returning to the workplace. A majority referenced vaccinated co-workers as a main determinant of workplace safety.
“Rising vaccination rates and lower numbers of infections in the region are contributing to more offices planning a return of their workforce to the office,” said Walters. “Our members and contractors are experienced and trained electricians who are partners in making offices safe for employees who may be nervous about returning to the office.”
To learn more about technology solutions provided by the unionized electrical industry that can be deployed to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission and to download the eBook, visit the Powering Chicago website .
About Powering Chicago
Bringing together the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134 electricians and the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) of City of Chicago , Powering Chicago is an electrical industry labor-management partnership that invests in consistently better construction, better careers and better communities within the metro Chicago region. Employing the latest technology, its members are elevating industry performance through their commitment to safety, level of experience and reliability, while also investing in the future of skilled labor through an innovative apprenticeship program that is paving the way for the next generation of skilled electricians. For additional information, visit poweringchicago.com .
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SOURCE Powering Chicago
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