Businesses investing in technology to make buildings safe

With help from Charlotte-based Honeywell, the Blumenthal Performing Arts center upgraded it’s air quality systems, allowing for a safe reopening.

CHARLOTTE, NC – The pandemic has forced companies around the world to rethink safety measures in facilities. Viruses, like COVID-19, can spread through the air.

As part of the federal government’s COVID-19 preparedness plan, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a “Clean Air in Buildings Challenge,” to encourage facilities to improve their indoor air quality and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Some businesses in Uptown Charlotte are already making those changes.

The pandemic forced the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center to close for nearly two years. To stay safely open in the “new normal,” they’ve completely updated the air quality systems inside the building.

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The theater can transport an audience to a different world.

“Every day I see people come down in their seats surrounded by other people and shed a tear because they’ve missed that human connection,” said Tom Gabbard, president and CEO of Blumenthal Performing Arts.

In the close quarters of the crowd at Blumenthal Performing Arts, the focus is just as much on the arts as it is the air guests are breathing.

“We learned through COVID that fresh air is the best disinfectant,” Gabbard said.

With help from Charlotte-based Honeywell, the entire building has HEPA filters purifying the air and a healthy buildings dashboard, allowing facility managers to monitor the air quality.

“Whether you’re talking about schools or office buildings or performance centers, people wanted to make sure the environment that they were going back to was safe,” said Jeff Kimbell, senior vice president of global strategic accounts for Honeywell.

You can stream WCNC Charlotte on Roku and Amazon Fire TV, just download the free app.

Kimbell said demand for this type of technology is growing as businesses learn to navigate life in the pandemic.

“That technology is designed to purify the air to make sure the air conditions are such that it’s a healthy place to be so people should feel very confident in those environments,” Kimbell said.

Gabbard says the upgrades are allowing the show to go on and stay on through the changes in viral trends.

“Air quality was integral to all of this,” he said. “We would not be open without figuring out these solutions.”

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Blumenthal Performing Arts just announced 19 shows coming to the theater starting in November. As of now, masks are optional. Theater officials said protocols may change if needed.

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