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Al Salem Johnson Controls participates in sterilisation drive in Makkah

Company says its YORK HVAC system ensures 100% fresh air inside the Grand Mosque

| | May 14, 2020 | 3:23 pm
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Dr Mohanad AlShaikh

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, 14 May 2020: Al Salem Johnson Controls (YORK) said the Company’s HVAC system played a significant role in a 48-hour sterilisation process and subsequent COVID-mitigation measures undertaken at Al-Masjid Al-Haram, in Makkah.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has implemented several precautionary measures at Al-Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah in the wake of COVID-19, with a temporary hold on prayers and Umrah inside the Mosque until further notice, to ensure the safety of worshipers.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque is continuously implementing sterilisations and other precautionary measures, in preparation for the reopening of the Two Holy Mosques, once the pandemic situation subsides.

All YORK chillers at Al Shamiyah and Ajyad cooling plants and the air-handling units (AHUs) inside the Mosque were shut down for 48 hours, in order to raise the temperature inside the Mosque to around 30-32 degrees Celsius, the level required for the sterilisation, the company said. Simultaneously, the AHUs were inspected, and the filters, ducts, drain pans and cooling coils were cleaned and sterilised, to assure that clean, high-quality air is supplied and maintained throughout the Mosque, the company added.

Each chiller takes about 3-4 minutes to be completely turned off, the company said. The pipes connecting the chiller plants to the Mosque keep supplying the AHUs with chilled water for about 30 minutes, before the water becomes warm and the AHUs are turned off, the company added.

After the sterilisation was completed, and due to the reduced load inside the Grand Mosque, owing to COVID-related restrictions, only 10% of the total cooling capacity was turned back on – sufficient to maintain a comfort zone for the few people inside the Mosque, the company said. It also helps achieve the right moisture level that will maintain the structural integrity of the Mosque. The remaining 90% of the chillers and AHUs are subject to preventive maintenance and long-term storage procedures, to ensure operational efficiency once the cooling plants are returned to full cooling capacity, when the pandemic subsides, the company said.

Al Salem Johnson Controls highlighted that the long-term storage service is a form of preventive maintenance applied on chillers that are in a non-operating mode over a long period of time. This maintenance is completed through frequent check-ups, and the monitoring of refrigerant and water pressure inside the chillers, to preserve the outer body of the chiller from moisture attacks and corrosion, the company said. Moreover, motor rotations and oiling are monitored, as are the alignment of the chiller’s motor and compressor, the company added.

When the HVAC system is turned back to full force, each chiller takes about 6-7 minutes to reach full operational efficiency and cooling capacity, thus gradually achieving the total cooling capacity, the company said, adding that long before the COVID-19 outbreak, it equipped the Two Holy Mosques with specialised and tailor-made HVAC systems, which take into consideration the crowded nature of both locations, particularly in peak seasons, such as Hajj and Umrah, as well as during prayer times.

The AHUs supply 100% fresh air, by containing contaminated air and exhausting it to the outdoors, and then replacing it with well-treated fresh air, which re-enters the space after a rigorous filtration process, the company said. The AHUs are equipped with filters that do not allow the passage of big particles to the air conditioned environment, through multiple stages of filtration that can achieve up to 95% filtration efficiency, the company said.

According to the company, the total cooling capacity of the HVAC system at the Great Mosque in normal days is 159,000 refrigerated tonnes (RT), equivalent to the cooling of 15,000 medium-sized apartments. This is provided through an integrated HVAC system, which consists of the two chiller plants, connected to the AHUs inside the Mosque, the company said.

The plants provide the chilled water that flows inside the AHUs, which in turn pump the cooled 100% fresh air across the Mosque, the company said. The chiller plant at Al Shamiyah is considered to be the second largest in the world, housing specially designed YORK OM Chillers, which are large, sophisticated chillers, with motors similar in size to a regular car, the company said.

The HVAC equipment has been specially engineered to meet the requirements of the Holy Mosque, particularly in peak seasons, and to adapt to the ventilation and cooling needs of the ongoing expansion works at Al-Haram, the company said.

Dr Mohanad AlShaikh, CEO, Al Salem Johnson Controls, expressed appreciation for the great efforts made by the Kingdom in the development of the Two Holy Mosques, and making them a strategic priority for the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman. He also lauded the precautionary measures taken by the Government amid COVID-19, to ensure the safety of the guests of Allah, as well as that of the citizens and residents of the Kingdom.

The company said it has allocated 135 service technicians for the Grand Mosque’s HVAC system, who are working round-the-clock at the cooling plants to ensure smooth operation of the HVAC system, and provide any required repair or maintenance services in record time.

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