(Issue: May 2021 )

FSG Provides Proactive Disinfection Solutions for Fullerton School District in California

Submitted by General Member Facility Solutions Group


   

CHALLENGE 
During the summer of 2020, with another school year just a few short weeks away, the staff of the Fullerton School District in California decided that they needed to improve indoor air quality (IAQ). Having already made considerable investments in PPE for the facilities they maintained, staff members were concerned with the IAQ at a particular junior high campus that was completely enclosed. With news of the COVID-19 pandemic dominating the headlines, they knew that doing nothing was no longer an option. Knowing that parents, teachers and students were all looking for answers to the central question of how to keep schools safe during the ongoing public health crisis, the time had arrived for some kind of constructive action. FUSD staff members needed someone to help them understand their building disinfection options, and they turned to FSG. 


SOLUTION 
The team at FSG’s Placentia office met with members of the school district staff and explained the various technologies available to disinfect the school and administrative facilities the district maintains. For this project, which involved an emerging technology and terms unfamiliar to most folks, it was understood that the first job would necessarily involve establishing a longer conversation with Fullerton USD. Team members invested in the relationship with the school district and established trust with school staff members by providing quick answers and additional information to every question posed by Fullerton officials.    
 
A particular focus of this effort involved educating board members about the advances in Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization (NPBI) technology over the last 10–15 years, and about the additional choices those advances provide for facility managers focused on improving Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Unlike unipolar ionization, and earlier bipolar ionization technologies (Corona Discharge), NPBI technology delivers all the disinfection benefits without generating harmful ozone, a bi-product that was of particular concern to Fullerton school officials. It was understandable that school officials concerned with promoting safety at each school district location would be cautious about the potential for unintended consequences. Over time and with plenty of information to make the case, FSG was able to demonstrate how NPBI offered only benefits for Fullerton students, teachers and administrators.  
 
Although cost savings for Fullerton Schools was a secondary concern, it was definitely an important issue for the school district. Within the conversation about how to improve IAQ within Fullerton schools, the existing HVAC footprint across all the various school campuses and administrative buildings was an ongoing topic of discussion. Because a number of their facilities included older HVAC systems that were expensive to run and struggled to comply with industry MERV standards, the board members were eager to understand how NPBI units could work within these systems to clear the air of pathogens while reducing the energy load on legacy HVAC units. FSG explained how a reduction in energy usage could also result in higher MERV ratings for their schools with older HVAC systems through the use of NPBI and properly sized air filters.     
 
Twice in the summer of 2020, and again at the end of that year, Fullerton School District made the decision to contract with FSG for the delivery and installation of Needlepoint Bi-Polar Ionization (NPBI) units to integrate with each facility’s existing HVAC system. The district also took delivery of four (4) 3000-watt UV-C disinfection carts to deploy in buses and empty spaces that see the highest volume of people during normal operating hours.


RESULT 

With each completed project, school district stakeholders began to breathe a little easier. Throughout the fall semester, Fullerton School District employees, teachers and students reported fresh air and a renewed sense of control during a season of worry. For school administrators and trustees, the investment in disinfection technology served a dual purpose of providing peace of mind today and providing facility HVAC cost savings into the future. With a number of the Fullerton school facilities utilizing older HVAC equipment, the new NPBI units provided benefits beyond improved IAQ. In combination with properly-sized filters, the NPBI units allowed these legacy systems to meet current MERV standards for filtration efficiency while simultaneously using less energy—a double benefit for Fullerton schools.