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"Making the invisible visible” for Southeast Asia’s Healthiest and Smartest Building

Menarco Tower is an innovatively designed, boutique office development that holds the distinction of being the first building in SE Asia to earn a GOLD certification from both WELL and LEED. This 32-storey building located in the vibrant BGC commercial district in the Philippines, has been designed to put the health and wellness of tenants first. Superior indoor air quality, safe and clean water, access to green areas, as well as minimal environmental impact, Menarco Tower is a prime example of human-centered design.

Going beyond existing standards in ensuring an optimal indoor environment for its tenants, the owners chose uHoo to be an integral part of the building’s air quality management strategies to pre-empt and avoid any possible air quality issues.

Challenges

No expense was spared when it came to the design and construction of Menarco Tower. For example, the building is equipped with a state-of-the-art HVAC system that ensures fresh, filtered air circulates throughout the building.

When Coronavirus broke out in 2020,  this was a critical piece in developing the building’s mitigation program to provide hospital-grade indoor air quality to prevent virus transmission.

Benefits

Early on, uHoo was simply seen as a way to better understand the air quality inside the building to ensure that environmental conditions are kept within the WELL standards. But the owners quickly realized that the air quality data from uHoo actually helped Menarco Tower make the invisible, visible — helping management discover and resolve potential issues earlier.

Improved air conditioning performance after identifying refrigerant pressure issues that caused warmer temperatures 

After installing uHoo in the lobby, it detected temperatures that were 2°C to 4°C higher than the WELL standard and the thermostat range set by the maintenance team. Even though there were no complaints about the temperature, the proactive team set out to find the source of the problem in the air conditioning system; they checked and tested for leaks, charged and recharged the refrigerant. Finally, the engineering team zeroed in on an imbalance in the refrigerant pressure that contributed to the higher temperatures in the lobby. After fixing the problem, they were able to bring the lobby temperature to optimal levels.

Identified high CO2 levels and addressed staff complaints on acoustic discomfort

The maintenance team was alerted to high carbon dioxide levels in the Property Management Office where uHoo was installed. Upon investigation, they learned that the staff turned off the fresh air intake because they were being distracted by the noise it produced. Menarco’s engineering team set out to address the concern about the fan and also advised the employees about the negative effects of exposure to high CO2 levels.

With the noise concern resolved, their employees kept the fresh air fan switched on, resulting in an increase in the comfort and safety in their office.

Discovered a pattern of elevated CO2 levels and improved staff turnover process to ensure optimal CO2 and safer physical distancing

The uHoo unit was also installed inside the command center of Menarco. Based on the aggregated air quality data, they noticed a pattern where carbon dioxide levels increased at certain times of the day. Looking closer at the data they discovered that the spikes in the CO2 levels occurred during turnover of housekeeping and security staff. With more people crowding in the small command center, higher CO2 emissions took place. 

The venue for the staff turnover was immediately changed to a location that was bigger and had more natural ventilation. This also allowed the staff to observe proper physical distancing for safety and CO2 in the command center were kept at optimal levels.

uHoo Virus Index provided confidence to management and tenants of a healthy and resilient building geared for the new normal

With the uHoo Virus Index determining the susceptibility of spaces in the building to COVID-19’s survival and transmission, the management felt more confident about the decisions they made in ensuring a safe and healthy indoor environment. Now they understand that keeping a green virus index level means virus survival is kept low and transmission is unlikely. 

Bottomline Results

The owners of Menarco Tower believe that tenants come first. With real-time and accurate information from uHoo, management has the capability to get a clear picture of the indoor environment. This allows them to maintain healthy and happy tenants as integrated and proactive building operations are enhanced with data-driven systems and processes. Most importantly, the building consistently meets WELL and LEED certification requirements to consistently ensure a healthy and high-performing environment.

 

 “uHoo has allowed Menarco to see the invisible, supporting our operations team to manage the building better using a data-driven management system instead of ‘gut feel.’ It equips us to maintain safe spaces and healthy tenants as a testament to our WELL Gold certification and health safety rating.”
Carmen Jimenez-Ong
Founder and CEO, Menarco Development Corporation
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