This week my team and I had the unique pleasure of attending the Restaurant Facility Management Association’s annual conference, RFMA, in Austin, Texas. Having a chance to reconnect with our customers and focusing on helping them solve problems is always an incredibly rewarding and satisfying experience.
In talking with so many of the customers with whom we work on a regular basis, we noticed some consistencies regarding their challenges. First, many of these Facility Managers are managing an incredibly large portfolio of stores; most folks citing somewhere between 50 and 100 under their management, offering precious little time on a per site basis. Additionally, operating budgets are incredibly thin, leaving marginal room to proactively manage facilities, and often only being able to respond to urgent matters re-actively.
As the industry leader in HVAC Testing, Balancing, and Commissioning, Melink is uniquely positioned to help Facility Managers ensure comfortable, healthy and efficient buildings. And for years we’ve been taking note of the challenges this industry faces. So, we are incredibly excited to be launching our new product, PositiV!
PositiV is a standalone, self-powered, system that monitor’s building pressure and remotely tracks building health. Think of it like a fitness tracker for commercial buildings. We believe this proprietary technology will revolutionize the commercial building industry; it’s unlike anything else you’ll find in the market.
So what makes this tech so revolutionary? First and foremost it was designed with Facility Managers in mind, empowering them to monitor the health of their portfolio with meaningful information… not just more data and alerts. It’s entirely stand-alone; meaning there are no wires or difficult connections with your local network. Our technology is powered by solar energy (yes, even the indoor unit!) and connected to the cloud wireless via 4G. And installation can be done in less than 15 minutes. One unit is installed on the roof and another unit is installed inside. From here, PositiV tracks four key building health indicators: building pressure, relative humidity, temperature, and CO2. But we want do more than just empower Facility Managers with information – we want to help them work smarter! For example, this technology enables our users to proactively manage problems by customizing intelligent alerts and trending this information over time, which provides valuable context, as opposed to a limited snapshot in time.
This week we heard countless real-world problems cause by sick buildings. Here are a few examples, and where we believe PositiV can help.
- High Humidity. A negative building pressure draws in unwanted moisture from the outside causing costly damage and potentially even organic growth (i.e., mold). Two Facility Managers I spoke with talked about having to replace tens of thousands of dollars of woodwork as a result of high humidity warping and destroying it. Having the ability to remotely monitor building pressure will enable the industry to eliminate costly issues such as this. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
- Pest Control. One facility manager spoke of a facility whose operations were being threatened by an insect infestation brought on by negative air pressure. Again, having meaningful data enabling operators to respond in real-time will eradicate issues such as this. Restaurant operators have far more important things to worry about.
- Increased Store Comfort, Customer and Employee Satisfaction. Keeping buildings healthy will prevent air from feeling stuffy & stale, eliminate offensive odors from grease & sewage, prevent hot & cold spots in the dining room, keep smoke out of the kitchen and dining room through ensuring adequate hood capture, and will prevent the cook line from getting too hot. Any one of these issues could become a big problem. A sick building will often yield many, if not all, of these symptoms. Make operations thepriority through preventing the building from getting sick.
- Increasing Safety and Reducing Risk. Nobody wants to deal with the liability from a harmful “slip & fall” brought on by moisture pooling on a floor from dripping condensation. Again, the meaningful and real-time information PositiV provides will help make facilities safer and reduce these very costly risks.
- Reduced Energy Costs. A sick building often has unnecessarily high energy costs due to equipment running inefficient. Frequently, this may have a chain effect causing other equipment to work harder or improperly as a result. Keeping a building healthy will keep the overall cost of energy low, thus improving store profitability.
These issues can be mitigated with the use of PositiV. By consolidating multiple buildings’ health in a single, easy-to-use dashboard, users can triage problem sites and get ahead of issues caused by negative pressure. Ultimately, PositiV will give Facility Managers peace of mind in knowing their buildings are healthy and performing effectively.
If you’re interested in getting a unit for your facilities, let us know. We’re currently finalizing our Beta testing and will be going into full production in Q2. At Melink, It’s our mission to change the world, one building at a time. I hope we can do so, together.
by Craig Davis, President and Alex Falck, Product Engineer