American voters have been more concerned with the status of healthcare during this past election than ever before, but that concern isn’t limited to ensuring the health of just people. In fact, this concern seems to be a worldwide trend, and people have realized that the best way to ensure that all animals are treated humanely is to turn the issue into a political one.
Over in France, animals have been given the legal status of “living beings capable of sensitivity” — a huge improvement from the 200-year-old legislation that deemed household pets to be “furniture.”
But back in the state of Maryland, no political movements were needed in order to revamp the Harford County Humane Society building in order to make the environment safer for its animals. It took a while to find the best engineering solution, because the Humane Society had three major concerns: to improve conditions with cost-effective improvements; to keep these improvements as environmentally friendly as possible; and to make sure that these changes would be just as inviting and comfortable for the animals as for potential adoptive parents.
Working with Baltimore-based engineering firm RMF Engineering, the Humane Society began the project in August 2014. The construction bid has recently been released (an estimated $6 million, max) and project coordinators have announced that the redesigned building will hopefully be completed by September 2015.
The biggest problems of the building included crowded rooms, no effective ways to transport clean water, and an old heating and ventilation system.
The first stages of the project, which focus on the building’s HVAC system, appear to be fully planned out and currently under construction. A recent report published by an RMF Engineering representative states that it wasn’t hard to find a new system that was both affordable and proven to reduce odors and airborne viruses — if anything, the hardest part was whittling down so many good HVAC systems and picking just one.
It’s easy to forget that the quality of living spaces doesn’t just affect the health of the human residents — it affects our furry friends, too. In a building like an animal shelter, it’s very difficult to eliminate the spread of disease, simply because the animals live in such close quarters. But even in private homes, something like a dirty HVAC filter or a leaky air conditioner can cause health risks for animals (and their humans).
“In older HVAC systems, mold can be present and as the air passes through the system, it gets distributed throughout your home,” says Jeffrey P. Vitt Sr., Lead Technician/Lead Installer, Vitt Heating & Air Conditioning. “Also your air filter may trap some viruses and harmful contaminants and also distribute them throughout your home. Many manufacturers of HVAC equipment have acknowledged this problem and have solutions that can kill viruses so that you do not continue to distribute harmful particles throughout your home.”
It will still take a while for the Humane Society’s Harford County shelter to be completely finished, but the construction goes according to plan, this building will certainly make a lot of animals happier and healthier for a long time.