Your building’s HVAC system may have a role to play in mitigating the risks associated with building occupants contracting and transmitting COVID-19 and other hazardous pathogens. While there is no silver bullet, the following guide will provide building owners with preliminary awareness and guidance concerning possible mitigation options for their HVAC systems.
Determining appropriate Coronavirus mitigation measures is largely predicated upon the likelihood of the virus being present in the building, as well as occupancy dynamics that may contribute to the transmission of the virus to occupants if it is present. Once this risk is considered, the suitability of various mitigation options can be filtered according to the unique design and operational considerations of the building, and in consideration of initial and ongoing costs. The most appropriate measure(s) for any given building will ultimately depend upon a multitude of interdependent factors that the building owner will want to consider in consultation with their mechanical systems engineer to fully understand the engineering and cost implications associated with each option.
Buildings do not manifest the Coronavirus on their own. People (building occupants) introduce the virus into them. If a building occupant is infected, the risk of the virus being transmitted to others is greatly influenced by how occupants use the building. Therefore, evaluating risk is largely a function of assessing the likelihood of the Coronavirus being introduced into the building and being transmitted to others.
Because risk, as being discussed here, cannot be determined definitively with any degree of confidence, risk determination is approached in a relative context. For example, the risk of the Coronavirus being introduced and transmitted in a small, private office is relatively lower than a public health clinic. Below are parameters owners may wish to consider when evaluating their building’s relative risk.
Below are relative risk assessment scores for common building types based on the Risk Assessment Parameters above, using general assumptions. Please select your building type.
Because building and occupancy circumstances vary significantly and owners differ in their risk aversion, the building owner or operator is often in the best position to make risk-related assessments, perhaps with some professional guidance. Referring to the Risk Assessment Categories above, use the tool below to assess your own building’s relative risk.
Assess your building by entering a score for each risk parameter. Your weighted score will fall into one of Relative Risk Categories. When assigning scores, you may wish to consider social distancing and other practices that will be used (e.g. staggered schedules, reduced hours, etc.).
|Occupancy Traffic (Volume)|
|Occupant Flow (Movement)|
|Overall Weighted Score:||TBD|
Below is preliminary guidance concerning HVAC mitigation methods based on your selections above. Owners should remain mindful that the viability and practicality of certain mitigation measures is highly dependent upon facility specific circumstances, as well as the impact of other mitigation measures being considered. Owners are encouraged to contact our team prior to making commitments to ensure they are aware of all the technical ramifications on the building’s operations resulting from the mitigation methods being considered.
|Select a building type above to view recommendations.|
|Risk Mitigation Measure||Prudent||Conservative||Aggressive|
|Increase Outside Air|
|Increase Total Air Volume|
|Increase Exhaust Air Volume|
|Improve Humidity Control|
|Increase HVAC Operating Hours|
|Disable Energy Recovery Wheel|
|Improve Air Filtration - Mechanical|
|Improve Air Filtration - Electronic|
|UV-C Air Purification|
|Ionized Air Purification|
|Improve Directional Air Flow|
|Implement Pressure Differential|