The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has taken a series of precautions and preventive measures throughout the Holy Mosque in Mecca. This aims to reduce the outbreak of COVID-19. The process was launched recently. The first measure was to suspend the entry into Masjid al-Haram until further notice, which would ensure the safety of pilgrims, visitors, and staff.
This takes place in the context of the preparations for the General Presidency for the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque to reopen their doors as soon as the relevant authorities announce that the level of the COVID-19 has been reached at an acceptable pace.
Previously, in the light of the exceptional health situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the General Presidency for the affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque decided to close the Mecca Grand Mosque for 48 hours to sterilize it completely.
The representatives of Al Salem Johnson Controls (York), a leader in the fields of ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration, indicated that HVAC systems had a primary role in this process. All York Chillers refrigerators were turned off at Ajyad and Shamiya refrigeration stations, so the internal temperature in the mosque reached about 30-32 degrees Celsius, a suitable degree for all sterilization operations carried out inside the mosque.
Inside the mosque, the ventilation units were also shut down for sterilization, cleaning of filters and ducts, drainage basins, and cooling coils to provide 100% fresh air to all parts of the Grand Mosque. It takes 3 to 4 minutes to completely turn off the cooler, while the air conditioners continue to receive cold water inside the pipes connecting to the mosque for 30 minutes, after which the air handling units close.
Al Salem Johnson Controls (York), a campus cooling system operator, indicated that after all sterilization procedures were completed and the Holy Mosque was reopened for its employees, only 10% of the plant’s refrigerant operating capacity and air conditioners were restarted inside the Holy Mosque. This was aimed at maintaining the temperature and humidity necessary to maintain the structure of the mosque and its possessions, as well as to ensure the comfort of its workers. While the remaining 90% of chillers and air conditioners are subject to preventative maintenance and long-term storage; to ensure efficient operation after the stations return to their usual full cooling capacity, after the COVID-19 is over.
In addition, York’s representatives emphasized that this service (long-term storage) is a form of preventive maintenance applied to refrigerants that are suspended for a long time to keep their external structure from moisture and not corrode, and to ensure its effectiveness after a restart. In this process, the pressure of the coolant, water in the coolant, as well as the efficiency of engine rotation, and oil speed are controlled.
The company representatives explained that after the official confirmation of the re-opening of the Grand Mosque, it would take about 6-7 minutes for full operational service to re-cool all the coolers of the stations of the Two Grand Mosques. “From the very beginning, the company designed heating, ventilation, air conditioning and cooling systems for the Grand Mosque in proportion to the nature of the crowds observed during the year, especially during the peak seasons during Ramadan and Hajj,” representatives of York emphasized.
The York air handling units ensure the comfort of visitors and worshipers, and protect the Mosque’s structure alike, in terms of monitoring temperatures, maintaining moisture levels and the required air balance in the various campus spaces, depending on the numbers of visitors, which contributes to energy efficiency.
These units, distributed throughout the holy Mosque, guarantee 100% pure indoor air quality flow through the efficiency of the filtering technology used, limiting the spread of airborne diseases and viruses and preventing dust particles from passing through the airway. The handling units are equipped with filters that do not allow large particles to pass into the conditioning environment.
The cooling system of the Grand Mosque was designed from the beginnings to keep pace with the ongoing expansion projects implemented by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Thus, the new air handling units in the expansion parts are easily connected to the (York) coolers in Shamiya and Ajyad.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Al Salem Johnson Controls (York), Dr. Mohanad Al Shaikh, praised the media for the tremendous efforts made by the state to rebuild the Two Holy Mosques and develop their services, as well as to strengthen them. Dr. Mohanad Al Shaikh also underscored the strategic approach of the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques of King Salman, precautions, and preventive measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 as well as to ensure the safety of the worshipers during Ramadan.
Salem Johnson Controls (York), maintaining the ventilation, air conditioning and cooling systems of the Holy Mosque of Mecca has allocated 135 engineers and technicians for 24/7 service inside the Holy Mosque and two cooling stations in Ajyad and Shamiya to ensure the convenience of visitors to the Grand Mosque and pilgrims, providing the necessary service and maintenance, as well as performing immediate repairs promptly.