HVACR Service Spotlight highlights a New York City area company that has taken extraordinary steps to support their customers and their employees during the pandemic. We share their stories to inspire other service organizations, help job candidates choose the organization they want to work for, and help potential customers choose the best New York HVAC and Refrigeration service companies for their needs.
Arista Air Conditioning offers guidance and proven solutions to industries hit hard by the pandemic
Arista’s approach to HVAC service has always emphasized proactive problem solving. As an industry leader in their market, Arista takes pride in serving as a trusted advisor to New York City business owners, facilities managers, and luxury residential property managers for decision-making around comfort issues and indoor air quality.
When COVID-19 began to emerge as a threat, Arista quickly realized they would be called upon to provide information and solutions to help prevent airborne transmission within their customers’ spaces.
So they dug in early on, and began developing a strategy to help their customers operate safely. Here’s what that strategy looked like and how Arista’s customers benefited during the most challenging year many have faced.
Align with science and offer effective solutions
Even before the city shut down last spring, Arista was looking for answers to the questions about COVID-19 that they knew were coming from their customers.
At that point, evidence was still in short supply about exactly how the COVID-19 virus was spreading. Was it transmitted through the air? Should people be concerned about HVAC systems spreading it? Nobody had definitive answers.
However, based on existing scientific evidence about the behavior of similar viruses, it seemed possible that the COVID-19 virus might get into HVAC systems. It seemed certain that customers were going to want to do everything possible to prevent spreading the virus in their spaces. Their livelihoods depended on it.
While continuously monitoring the emerging science surrounding the virus, Arista put together a comprehensive range of HVAC solutions for preventing the spread of COVID, and they developed guidelines for choosing the right solutions for each customer’s specific situation.
“As HVAC professionals, we took the initiative to address the issue with technology we knew was available and effective for reducing the spread of viruses and other airborne contaminants,” explained Michael Rosone, Arista’s VP of Sales and Marketing.
- Filter upgrades, to trap more virus particles and remove them from circulation (when used appropriately).
- Air purification technology that combines UV light, bipolar ionization and oxidation, to render particles inactive both in the air and on surfaces throughout the space. (Recently the most popular IAQ technology Arista provides has been lab-tested and proven to destroy 99.9% of COVID-19 virus particles.)
- Increasing ventilation, to dilute the concentration of virus particles in the air.
- Controlling humidity, to decrease the viability of virus particles (which tend to thrive in very low humidity and high humidity conditions).
- System maintenance and sanitization, to prep the HVAC system for problem-free startup after prolonged shutdown and eliminate any possible contamination of the system prior to reopening a business.
From decades of experience serving the city as an essential service provider during emergency situations (including 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy), Arista knew that clear and proactive communication was the key to providing the help their customers needed.
Get ahead of demand
After the city shut down in March, Arista began by offering assistance to those customers who were able to stay open: notably restaurants shifting quickly to provide takeout service. Arista offered to help out with emergency kitchen and refrigeration equipment service needs.
Next, Arista shared some advice and information for businesses as they began to plan for reopening. At that point, air conditioning season was quickly approaching, and Arista knew the demand for startup service would be huge once the city started to reopen. So they offered to work with customers to get into their buildings and complete startup service before the rush, and also while the space was empty to minimize contact.
That email offer generated hundreds of takers within hours, and customers were grateful to have one less thing to worry about.
Similarly, Arista began advising its customers about air quality and COVID-prevention strategies early on, to help them plan proactively for reopening.
Share trustworthy information and expert advice
With all the information (and misinformation) circulating, Arista wanted to make sure their customers had the facts about COVID and HVAC, and the most reliable advice to inform their decision making.
So they developed and shared educational materials that answered customers’ questions, and explained the pros and cons of the available HVAC solutions. Then they worked one-on-one with each customer to choose the best combination of solutions to meet their specific situation.
Arista serves hundreds of the city’s restaurants and fitness facilities: two regulated industries that have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. Not only were they shuttered for many months, but these businesses were required to comply with new state regulations before they could reopen.
In August, New York State issued a set of guidelines that were confusing and difficult to interpret. They were centered around installing MERV 13 filters, which gave business owners (who had little HVAC knowledge) the idea that these filters were THE solution that would make their spaces safe.
Arista knew that requiring MERV 13 filters in this way was misleading and in many cases NOT the best option for every business. Sharing educational materials helped customers understand the drawbacks of filter upgrades, and also that other solutions might be more suitable for their needs (and could satisfy the state requirements).
“Every day, I’m having conversations where I need to explain to customers that MERV 13 is not the magic bullet,” said Michael. “We’ve done a lot of thought leadership to educate people and bring clarity to the mixed messages out there.”
“We’re taking a consultative approach of not just installing MERV 13 filters everywhere, because it’s not necessarily appropriate. It might not achieve the desired outcome. Our approach is more holistic: it’s a combination of appropriate filtration, dilution and good ventilation, and installing new IAQ technology.”
Help customers alert their patrons about safety measures
For restaurants and fitness centers, their reputation is everything. That’s why the health inspection grade signs are prominently displayed in restaurants (and the A grades so prized).
Arista developed a way for restaurants to show their patrons the air quality measures they had implemented to ensure health and safety in their spaces. Arista created an IAQ sign (with a look similar to the NYC health inspection grading signs) for customers to post at their entry.
Plan ahead to facilitate reopening
When New York State announced plans for restaurants and gyms to reopen, they gave those businesses very little time to prepare to meet the safety requirements.
Fortunately, many of them had been working proactively with Arista. The company had stocked up on equipment and supplies they knew would be needed. Because of the large volume of business they do, Arista was also able to negotiate discounts with equipment manufacturers that they passed along to customers. With so many in a financially precarious situation, every bit helped.
Having supplies on hand and a large workforce, Arista helped hundreds of restaurants and fitness facilities get ready to reopen in a few weeks.
Implement policies and practices to keep everyone safe
Arista knew that keeping customers safe needed to start with keeping their employees safe. Here are some of the steps they took toward that goal:
- Procuring sufficient PPE supplies early on
- Increasing safety protocols for field technicians, office staff, and warehouse workers (and being vigilant about enforcement)
- Mandating daily health reporting from employees and requirements for when employees are ineligible to work
- Moving 90% of office staff to remote working
- Installing the IAQ solutions they provide to others in their own office
- Sanitizing high touch surfaces in the office 4 times per day
- Installing touchless equipment such as faucets and water coolers in the office
About Arista Air Conditioning
For over 70 years, Arista Air Conditioning has been recognized as one of the most respected HVAC service companies in the New York City metro area. With an extensive fleet and team of over 150 highly trained technical staff, Arista provides thousands of commercial and luxury residential customers with quality, dependable service.
Arista has developed a comprehensive program of continuous staff training and professional development on state-of-the-art practices and processes, and is one of a few select NY state companies to earn both the prestigious MSCA STAR and GreenStar designations.