Something’s in the air: Look at your HVAC to reduce COVID-19 virus transmission

graphic illustrating different topics covered by ASHRAE’s COVID-19 resources

This graphic helps users explore the online guide for ASHRAE’s COVID-19 resources.

The goal during the COVID-19 pandemic has been to minimize occupants’ risk of infection when inside buildings. There are many factors that affect the risk of infection that are out of the building operator’s control, such as the time in the space, the number of infected in the building (think of untested, asymptomatic people) or the viral load required to become infected.

However, there are many things the building owner can do to make sure that they provide a space that helps reduce the risk for the occupants, namely through the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems’ operation and performance against virus mitigation. Hanson has been helping many building owners, including ourselves, in evaluating the current performance of HVAC systems and identifying potential improvements to reduce the virus transmission capability.

The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force’s Building Readiness Guide provides comprehensive information about how to evaluate HVAC systems’ current operation status and identify measures to improve their performance in minimizing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Simply put: the goal is to ensure that there is code or design outdoor air introduced by the systems, to determine the level of properly installed filtration and to discover if there is a requirement to place additional air cleaning technologies in the systems or directly in the space.

Hanson, whose employees helped create the guide, also identifies other facility improvement measures (FIMs) while evaluating the systems for reducing energy consumption and maintenance issues and for maintenance safety. A report is created with all potential virus mitigation strategies, and FIMs are developed and reviewed, item by item, to capture the owner’s path forward. Finally, a building readiness report is created to identify the HVAC and non-HVAC control measures the owner is using to reduce the risk of infection for their occupants.

For more information about reducing virus transmission in your building, contact Wade Conlan at wconlan@hanson-inc.com.