Proactive Maintenance Practices for Legionella Prevention and Control

Buildings have come under a microscope recently as to how they impact our lives. We’ve known for years that buildings are a huge contributor to the world’s carbon emissions, 40% is the going number, and we understand the greater impact of what that means for the planet. But, the pandemic heightened the direct and immediate impact buildings can have on our health. We all saw that being inside a building could expose us to risky pathogens.

However, this isn’t new. Ask anyone who has worked in the Legionella space and they’ll tell you that proactively getting ahead isn’t only the best way, it’s the only way. If you’re unfamiliar, Legionella is a pneumonia-like disease from Legionella bacteria which is commonly found in water and has a mortality rate of around 10%. There were 30,000 cases reported in Europe from 2011-2015 yet reported cases shot up by 42% from 2011 until the end of 2015. The bacteria grow rapidly when temperatures are between 20-45°C and the right nutrients are available. The bacteria are dormant below 20°C and do not survive above 60°C.

Stagnant water increases the risk of Legionella growing and, thus, infecting people within the building. This danger grows when buildings are empty or unused as water collects and sits in pipes instead of being flushed through. The Approved Code of Practice L8 (ACOP L8) guidelines are for the control of legionella bacteria in water systems. For buildings with no on-site engineer to follow these guidelines, monitoring is outsourced to flush pipes and check temperatures. This takes a lot of time and money to do at the necessary intervals.

Proactive maintenance practices via sensors automation

The days of walking around with a clipboard and blindly following traditional methods because “that’s how it’s always been done” can be behind us with the help of technology. Sensors that measure, monitor, and connect with smart backends are the equivalent of someone being there 24/7. Sensors can give us nonstop data about the temperature of water and when pipes require flushing. Following IFTTT sequences, when the sensor measures an inappropriately warm temperature of water in a pipe, it can trigger the pipes to be flushed. This automation not only keeps pipes and the water within them at a safe temperature, it keeps buildings within compliance and operational teams freed up to handle other items.

Having extra time means that the ongoing maintenance list can be addressed, moving operational practices from a reactive strategy to a proactive one. The buildings of the future are led by data, not by blind best-practices. Today we have the opportunity to truly listen to how equipment is running and to analyze the environment within our buildings, so why would we ignore that information?

According to research from JLL, not using the data that is collected is unfortunately not uncommon; 87% of facilities, security and IT managers said AI would become a necessary part of smart building management, and 77% of building managers already keep data generated from sensors in their facilities, yet 42% of those surveyed don’t analyze the data to identify variations and patterns to improve building operations.

The more we know about our buildings, the better we can run them and the healthier and safer the environments can be for occupants.

At Envio Systems, we are always thinking about what’s next. We want to help you become proactive instead of reactive from how you approach L8 compliance to everything else within your building. Here are some recent articles about how:


Curious about how our system connects various data points to give you the best 360* view of your building? It’s the only way to get ahead! KONTAKT – we look forward to making your next days better than the last.

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