Ventilation systems can help reduce COVID-19 exposure

Our team has been attending webinars, collecting data, and closely monitoring the research around the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 as it relates to building ventilation requirements. Understanding up-to-date guidelines for improving will support building owners and building occupant safety as we move toward reopening businesses and public spaces in NYS.

Most recently, ASHRAE’s (The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) Executive Committee and Epidemic Task Force released two statements around COVID-19 summarized as follows:

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of HVAC systems, can reduce airborne exposures.

…Ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems can reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and thus the risk of transmission through the air…

There are many variables that can affect the impact your HVAC system has on reducing exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Here are some common issues that we’ve seen in the field that can be remedied fairly simply. 

  • Check your HVAC systems for missing air filters. It’s surprising how often filters are overlooked for replacement or simply never installed. 
  • Consider installing high-efficiency filters.
  • Check for any leaks in air filter covers and doors.
  • Look for any air bypass around the air filters.
  • With office spaces shifting, it would be a good time to assess the location of your system’s return air grilles in relation to how building occupants use the space. 

Taitem has been designing HVAC systems that meet or exceed ASHRAE design guidelines and will continue to provide building owners with the most advanced strategies for reducing the risk of transmission of airborne exposures in their buildings. If you have questions about improving your existing system operations or designing a new system that will reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2, please reach out to our team.