By Richie Mittal, ISHRAE President
As early as the end of March 2020, the Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) realised that this pandemic, COVID-19, would spread rapidly and is here to stay for a long time. As a society engaged with the HVAC&R industry, we decided to take the lead in collecting, validating, and sharing authentic information on how to slow down the spread of the virus in air conditioning and ventilation.
A COVID task-force was set up on 1st April 20 with members drawn from industry, academia, and R&D to address this issue. On 13th April 20, the ISHRAE task-force organized a panel-discussion followed by a lively Q&A session and released: Guidelines on COVID-19 for HVAC in an eBooklet. These Guidelines, based on scientific data, specified in simple terms the recommended parameters to be observed when re-opening, and operating air-conditioning and ventilation systems in residential, workplaces, and healthcare sectors.
To widely share our Guidelines, the document was posted on the ISHRAE website with the ability to download free of charge. This generated tremendous response across all sectors and the government departments related to buildings. Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and Military Engineering Services (MES) adopted the Guidelines and advised all their field units to implement the same. Peer societies in India and abroad also adopted the Guidelines with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) also giving an endorsement. A special Guidelines document was made jointly with IMA. ISHRAE is recognised as the leading technical expert of the Indian HVAC&R industry.
Several joint webinars were also organised with our associate societies to address the queries of their members. Industry organizations including the Refrigeration Air Conditioning Manufacturers Association (RAMA), Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Trades Associations (RATA) as well as Sodexo, shopping mall corporation and many others accepted the Guidelines and work wish ISHARE to conduct an eSession. This virtual event was well-atttended by professionals from the HVAC & R industry demonstrating the industry’s focus on this important issue.
Recently, ISHRAE installed new officers and all Chapters / Subchapters (43 now) virtually and the first Regional Chapter Conference (RCC) was conducted on a digital platform. Members and officers at ISHRAE have accepted the virtual mode of meeting with it also saving time and money.
ISHRAE has also practiced safe-distancing by relying entirely on digital platforms to conduct all internal meetings and take follow-up actions in keeping with our aims and objectives. Although the physical ISHRAE office remains closed, it is still business as usual.
About the Author
Richie Mittal is Director of OVERDRIVE Engineering Pvt Ltd, a company specializing in Energy Efficient Design, Passive and Engineering in Air conditioning and cooling system, Indoor Air Quality and Geothermal for ENCLOSED FACILITIES., Energy Audit, Green Building, Third Party Commissioning and TAB (Testing, Adjusting & Balancing). He is Graduate engineer from BIT Mesra and Post graduate from Delhi College of Engineering in 1984.
He has experience of 36 years in this industry and also is guest lecturer in many Engineering colleges including IIT. He is National President of ISHRAE , Board of Director – Indoor Air Quality Association Inc (USA), Regional Member Council Representative of Region at Large at ASHRAE, Founder Member – International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (USA)- India Chapter IGSHPA, Chair– Research in ASHRAE for TC 5.7 for Evaporative Cooling, Member – R&D Project Sectorial Appraisal Committees (RDSPAC) for Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP’s) of MNRE (Ministry of New & Renewable Energy), Technical Committee – GRIHA and Ttechnical Advisor in TERI.