When the Phoenix Suns announced in 2019 that they would spend $230 million to refurbish the arena, the crowded 1,500 social fans hardly expected to reopen. However, when attendees in February signed up through the redesigned entrance of the pavilion in February 11 months after leaving the venue, “this is really exciting,” said Ralph Marchetta, Suns senior vice president and general manager of the venue. “For all of us, this is a big deal.”
The Phoenix Suns Arena has larger all-black seats, theater-style lighting, and a video board six times larger than its predecessor. These elements have been planned. But the timing of the construction means that the Suns can also easily add updates related to the pandemic. The new HVAC system is equipped with a MERV-13 filter, which captures more particles than its lower-rated predecessor. Ultraviolet cleaning equipment has been added to the escalator handrails. The bathroom fixtures are made contactless, while the concession booths are not cash.
Even though research has quelled people’s long-standing fears that COVID-19 often spreads on the surface, Marchetta said that making fans feel safe when they return is almost as important as ensuring good health. A poll by Sportico found that compared with the pandemic, many fans (especially young people) expect to participate in more events after the pandemic. However, in Marchetta’s words, after experiencing “destructive years”, the on-site event business is estimated to have lost $30 billion, and the venue operators have not taken it for granted. Twelve months after the sports world was closed, practical technology implementation, centralized planning, and a little inspiration from the medical industry are helping them get back on track. Currently, more than half of the NBA is selling tickets.
At this time a year ago, Ed Bosco, the executive director of ME Engineers, was reviewing new products related to COVID every day. Now, with a smile, he is asking about an ion-based disinfection product that is mainly used on cruise ships, as if this is what his construction manager client would fall behind in April last year. If it is not ineffective, a large amount of mist and spray will prove to be impractical. Temperature-based scanning has earlier prospects, but it has not reached the scale.
Places with larger budgets can invest in electrostatic sprayers, scanners that measure life, or screens that connect people in the home, but because of the benefits of free fall, the rate of return on investment is always an important factor.
Bosco said that last year’s procurement business also brought challenges, with prices rising six times and waiting times for more than 20 weeks. Sports groups are also wary of restricting hospital supplies. When using the same material to make a mask, it is difficult to find a high-quality filter. Before the U.S. Open in New York last August, Bosco could not find any top air filters, except for a back-built inventory in Connecticut with gaskets fixed on the wrong side of the filter. Bosco decided that this might work and built 57 air filtration units around the HEPA filter. They are still used in the facility. Bosco said: “That’s the cleanest air in New York City.”
Bosco added that in most cases, low-tech solutions have won the market. It turns out that the reopening is more a matter of mathematics than a scientific problem. It can calculate how many people can be accommodated while maintaining a safe distance. Usually, 25% of production capacity proves to be the answer (Houston is currently the only NBA club to reach this threshold). Another key figure is called the air exchange per hour (ACH) or outdoor air ventilation rate.
HKS Architects (60% of their business comes from the healthcare sector) are already proficient in statistics, which measure the amount of air entering a room divided by the size of the space. Some hospital wards can run up to 20 ACH, while a stadium may traditionally have fewer than six. “All of us work in healthcare,” said Mike Drye, the principal and architect. “A lot of what we did… began to spread to other parts of the world.”
Many areas ensure the normal operation of their existing HVAC systems. Bosco said: “We are studying these buildings carefully, usually only when they are built for the first time.” “We usually build buildings, confirm their performance, and assume that the performance will remain unchanged over time. Change.” The repairs made last year because the building was dormant should also lead to long-term energy savings. Ultimately, despite this, there is a trade-off between operating the system to maximize airflow and maintaining precise conditions and/or energy costs. In this sense, responding to today’s health crisis may exacerbate tomorrow’s climate disaster.
Literally, a product that Bosco has been evaluating has been around for many years. Since 1999, Grignard, a chemical company with a history of nearly 60 years, has been producing dramatic effect materials, and many NBA arenas have used fluids in the form of vapors, which are harmful to the naked eye in the air. Naked, but will enhance the lighting effect. In 2015, Grignard learned that the product happened to have antibacterial properties.
Since April last year, it has tested its solution against a virus similar to COVID-19 and achieved promising results. Doctors from Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University conducted further research. CEO Etienne Grignard said: “The app is new, but there are 100 million exposures without any health incidents.” “People have used the product in concerts, Broadway shows and churches for more than 20 years. “Recent tests have found that adding this chemical to the HVAC system may be effective, costing less than $1,000 each time. Grignard has been approved by the EPA for use in certain areas of Georgia and Tennessee for further evaluation. “This product is not fairy dust,” Griyard said.
Whether it’s products like Grignard or just time to fill up the building again, a large number of updates from last year may remain, including simplified discount procedures, and even an app that tells fans the shortest bathroom line. Derry said that the stadium may also have to comply with future pandemic codes and provide plans like fires, hurricanes or large-scale evacuation. The darkest days of COVID-19 may have passed, but health-centered thinking will not disappear.
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Post time: Mar-25-2021