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Green, clean office air just in time for employees to come back to work

Posted at 6:45 PM, Jun 07, 2021

As employees start heading back into the workplace, employers are thinking about safely bringing everyone back.

A woman in Chicago has an idea, and it involves the air you breathe and the building you work in.

There are smartphones, smart TVs, and smart homes.

Now there are smart buildings, which are entire offices that are running "smartly."

“So, think a remote control for the building and everything you do in it,” said Thru Shivakumar, CEO, and co-founder of Cohesion.

It's a new concept that's been in the works for the past few years.

“With these new technologies on sensors, we can detect there’s something in the air, and so we’re pushing more air into the space to dilute it so when that air circulates, that the best we can do," Shivakumar said.

Just in time for a return to the workplace, Cohesion lets you work safely.

“Cohesion’s entire mission is to change the way commercial real estate operations are inside of buildings," Shivakumar said. "Right now, they’re manual, disparate, inefficient, and we want to help deliver efficient, healthy, green buildings, and we want to do that leveraging the power of data.”

The data, she said, comes from the building's operations, including things like how people move around, what they do, even where they park.

They compare that information with the building itself.

“We look at how often the fans run, how hot and cold the air is inside the building," Shivakumar said. "We then take all of the data from both building systems, occupancy sensors or indoor air quality sensors as well as human data and roll it into a platform.”

The platform is an app, and it's being used in more than a dozen buildings around the U.S.

It's also being used in the one that Anthony Scacco is in.

Scacco is the chief operating officer for Riverside Investment Development, a commercial real estate firm in Chicago.

"Every tenant, every occupant on a 24/7, 365-day basis can see carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, particulate matter," Scacco said. "VCO’s and ozone at any given time for their space and the common areas.”

Scacco says they wanted to make occupant health their top priority. And, as it turns out, their building could do a lot more than they thought.

“There are taking steps to protect people, but then there’s proving that you're doing it and being an open book," Scacco said. "That you’re doing that, we’re excited to show this to people to encourage them the buildings that they’re coming back to are safe, but their employer is thinking about these things.”

Scacco said there's a business case to making health a factor.

“We strongly believe the office of the future has to consider these things at a much higher priority.”

As for Thru, she says, you can expect to see more smart choices around the country and world as her business has only just begun.