We are reaching out to our clients and friends to offer help during the pandemic regarding safe building operation.  There are engineering and government standards that we look towards for guidance to offer building owners steps they can take in response to the pandemic.  If you are not familiar with these standards, we have reviewed them and compiled a few of the most practical things that can be put into place to reduce the spread of the virus.

The most important actions that you can take are not related to HVAC and include frequent disinfection of high touch surfaces,  providing more opportunities and supplies for hand sanitation, closing unnecessary food preparation areas, and promoting alternatives to drinking fountains.

If you are looking to improve your HVAC system for non-healthcare buildings, the following modifications to building HVAC system operation should be considered:

  • Increase outdoor air ventilation (disable demand-controlled ventilation and open outdoor air dampers to 100% as indoor and outdoor conditions permit).
  • Improve central air and other HVAC filtration to MERV-13 (98% efficient, ASHRAE 2017b) or the highest level achievable.
  • Keep systems running longer hours (24/7 if possible).
  • Add portable room air cleaners with HEPA or high-MERV filters with due consideration to the clean air delivery rate (AHAM 2015).
  • Add duct- or air-handling-unit-mounted, upper room (area above the occupied level, above 6’-0”), and/or portable UVGI devices in connection to in-room fans in high-density spaces such as waiting rooms, prisons, and shelters.
  • Bypass energy recovery ventilation systems that leak potentially contaminated exhaust air back into the outdoor air supply and before in-room air cleaners and after filtration.

For more information, ASHRAE has also published position documents that are relevant to the current situation click the links below.

Building Operation

Filtration and Air Cleaning

Infectious Aerosols

Airborne Infectious Diseases

BKM  team members, along with our in-house ASHRAE 62.1 committee member, Brendon Burley, PhD, PE will be holding an on-line Q & A session to answer some of your questions via Go-to-Meeting on Wednesday May 6th at 2 PM EST.

If you would like specific information about your building operation now please call us at 410-323-0600.