PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis. — Officials of the Town of Prairie du Sac were concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic might impact residents entering the Town Hall during the Nov. 3 presidential election voting.

To help improve the Town Hall’s environment, the town of 1,136 residents 50 miles northwest of Madison recently retrofitted its sole polling place’s HVAC ventilation system with 100-percent outdoor air and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) light.

“We set out to create a healthy, safe environment that offered the best possible protection against airborne contaminants for Election Day and beyond,” said Janine Godfriaux-Leystra, chairperson of Prairie du Sac’s Town Board. “This complements our election workers’ training in surface disinfection, plus mask, personal hygiene, and physical-distancing in the polling place.”

The Town Hall’s 1,500-square-foot polling room HVAC system can now shift into an outdoor air mode via a remote switch or an occupancy sensor. The upgraded ventilation is possible due to the addition of an EV Series Premium energy recovery ventilator (ERV) manufactured by Waunakee, Wisconsin-based RenewAire. The 280-CFM unit was recently ducted into the Town Hall’s existing high-efficiency split-system HVAC unit.  

Mechanical contractor, Dischler Heating, Cooling & Fireplaces Inc., Prairie du Sac,  took the air purification retrofit one step further and also installed a UV light kit manufactured by PremierOne, Pulaski, Wisconsin.

Brian Dischler, president, said he’s installed similar ERVs in residential and commercial buildings long before the pandemic to help building owners eradicate influenza, allergens, CO2, gaseous odors, and other airborne contaminants that affect indoor air quality (IAQ).

Albeit a smaller scale, the town is joining a growing number of facilities and businesses duplicating (IAQ) techniques that huge urban commercial buildings and medical centers have applied throughout the 2020 pandemic to provide safer occupant environments. Both outdoor air dilution and UV disinfection equipment is recommended by the HVAC standards association, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); and the Wisconsin Economic Development Committee (WEDC). Aside from the professional organizations’ recommendations, the Town Board was already very knowledgeable on improving IAQ and knew exactly what the Town Hall needed for providing a safer breathing environment, according to Godfriaux-Leystra.

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