Eventually our schools will open for some degree of in person education. What can we in the HVAC industry do to help make this process as safe as possible? It turns out that there are quite a few things that can be done.
ASHRAE is The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers is an American professional association seeking to advance heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems design and construction. ASHRAE has more than 57,000 members in more than 132 countries worldwide. Wikipedia
Here is a short video that describes the history and mission of ASHRAE:
ASHRAE has an extensive web page that describes the steps that can be taken upon reopening of our schools and universities. They state:
ASHRAE’s position is that “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 heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning [HVAC] systems, can reduce airborne exposures.”
General Conclusions for Building Managers
- The existing BAS (building automation system) can be adjusted to deal with HVAC spread of the COVID 19 virus and other air born pathogens.
- The typical goal of the BAS is to save energy; this strategy must be modified to increase the amount of outside air coming into the building. This is the single biggest change that can be made to reduce the spread of infectious disease by the HVAC system. Put simply dilution.
- The air filtration system, combined with the devices described below can also help scrub pathogens out of the air. Filters are available that can catch smaller particles than the standard ones many buildings now use.
- In duct air ionizers have been shown to reduce air born pathogens. Air ionization works through the reaction of positively and negatively charged ions. The ions attach to airborne pathogens, such as viruses causing a chemical reaction on the cell membrane’s surface. This deactivates the viruses, rendering them harmless. They then can no longer spread or cause infection. The size of the particles is increased by this process, making them easier to capture by the air filters.
- Duct mounted Ultraviolet lighting devices help reduce air born pathogens. These have been commonly used prior to the COVID 19 pandemic. These devices inactivate potential harmful air born pathogens and have the advantage of not creating a pressure drop burden on the HVAC system.
It’s a complicated problem making the solution complicated. Each situation and building is different. Let us help you sort through all this. We offer a complete analysis of your building(s) and will provide written recommendations at no obligation. Call 574-274-1541 or contact us.