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ASHRAE Resources Available to Address COVID-19 Concerns

ASHRAE has developed proactive guidance to help address coronavirus disease 2019 concerns with respect to the operation and maintenance of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems.

The ASHRAE COVID-19 Preparedness Resources webpage, ashrae.org/COVID19, provides easily accessible resources from ASHRAE to building industry professionals.

Available on the webpage is ASHRAE’s recently approved position document on Airborne Infectious Diseases. The Society’s position is that facilities of all types should follow, as a minimum, the latest practical standards and guidelines.

The following publications are referenced in the position document and on the resources webpage:

The position document also advises that new and existing healthcare intake and waiting areas, crowded shelters and similar facilities should go beyond the minimum requirements of these documents, using techniques covered in ASHRAE’s Indoor Air Quality Guide to be even better prepared to control airborne infectious disease (including a future pandemic caused by a new infectious agent).

Because small particles remain airborne for some period of time, the design and operation of HVAC systems that move air can affect disease transmission in several ways, such as by the following:

  • Supplying clean air to susceptible occupants
  • Containing contaminated air and/or exhausting it to the outdoors
  • Diluting the air in a space with cleaner air from outdoors and/or by filtering the air
  • Cleaning the air within the room

ASHRAE recommends the following strategies of interest to address disease transmission: dilution ventilation, laminar and other in-room flow regimes, differential room pressurization, personalized ventilation, source capture ventilation, filtration (central or unitary) and UVGI (upper room, in-room and in the airstream).

Owners, operators and engineers are encouraged to collaborate with infection prevention specialists knowledgeable about transmission of infection in the community and the workplace and about strategies for prevention and risk mitigation.

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Posted March 17, 2020

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