ASHRAE is an organization of over 55,000 professionals united in a common goal to advance the arts and sciences of HVAC and related fields. The impact of COVID-19 on the health of building occupants and the resulting economic turmoil has been great. The pandemic prompted ASHRAE to form a task force to confront these challenges. As a result, they provide reopening guidance to commercial businesses, schools, universities, and healthcare facilities. For our part at Pure Air Control Services, we offer a full list of services for exceeding ASHRAE guidance with regard to our core competencies. This includes methods for cleaning, disinfecting, and restoring HVAC systems as well as monitoring, and air purifying.
Exceeding ASHRAE Guidance with Pure Air Control Services
The following is a list of ASHRAE reopening guidelines along with a description of our services to help facilities managers meet and exceed them.
ASHRAE advises the inspection of HVAC systems to determine where problems exist. Our HVAC Hygiene Assessment provides a visual inspection of the Air Handling Unit (AHU) including the evaporator coils, drain pan, blower, and plenums. Corresponding duct work is also inspected including VAVs, grills and diffusers. The assessment provides collection and analysis of surface samples from the AHU as well as performance testing on the impact of pressure and airflow across the evaporator coils. This assessment and the resulting report gives building managers the information they need to make improvements. A well-maintained system is critical in preventing the spread of viruses and exceeding ASHRAE guidance.
Inspection and Maintenance
An HVAC assessment also meets guidelines set for the inspection and maintenance of HVAC systems. Environmental testing includes both surface and bioaerosol screenings to reduce the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19. Additional screening for bacteria, fungi, and other particles are performed as well.
Secondly, a Building Health Check is another type of inspection that will exceed ASHRAE guidance. This testing protocol investigates the occupied spaces for deficiencies and makes recommendations for remedying those found.
PURE-Duct Cleaning uses specialized equipment to go inside the ductwork. The system uses high-pressure air turbulence to knock out dust and debris which is then collected by an industrial-strength vacuum system with a HEPA filter. Viruses, bacteria, and mold have nowhere to hide and airflow/ventilation improves as a result. At the conclusion of cleaning, the ductwork is fogged with PURE-Decon utilizing EPA List-N registered disinfectants for emerging pathogens to ensure pathogens are neutralized. Above all, the health and safety of building occupants improve as managers work towards exceeding ASHRAE guidance.
Ventilation and Filtration
Exceeding ASHRAE guidance also means facilities managers should make sure their HVAC systems provide the required minimum amounts of outdoor air for ventilation. Filters must be MERV 13 or better to ensure proper air filtration. Though, we recommend referencing your AHU’s manual or contacting the manufacturer to make sure the AHU can utilize MERV 13 filters. Not doing so can result in damage to your unit.
Another way to improve ventilation and filtration is by cleaning and disinfecting the system. First, our PURE-Steam process uses 350° F steam to disinfect the inside of the AHU and evaporator coils. Second, it improves airflow, static pressure and thermal transfer by thoroughly removing debris from deep within coils. Finally, This eco-friendly process uses HEPA environmental cleaning and bio-enzyme treatments to destroy microbes. It also improves system performance and lowers energy costs.
Building Readiness Plan
A building readiness makes exceeding ASHRAE guidance easier. This includes plans for social distancing, handwashing, and setting occupancy levels, but also inspections, cleaning, and disinfecting. Pure Air Control’s systems, such as the ones listed above, help meet goals of increasing ventilation and improving filtration.
After deep cleaning the AHU, it is refinished with state-of-the-art, high-performance coatings as part of our HVAC New Life process. These substances are antiviral, antimicrobial, and corrosion-resistant. PURE-Coat, PURE-Coil, and PURE-Liner 2.0 release silver ions that resist the growth of pathogens. Using PURE-Cell fiberglass-free insulation improves system performance and helps buildings get ready for reopening.
Then, PURE-Decon disinfects both HVAC systems and the occupied spaces using EPA List-N registered disinfectants for emerging pathogens. This method uses a fine electrostatic charged mist that gets to areas topical cleaning cannot. It is an important part of exceeding ASHRAE guidance.
Pre- or Post-Occupancy Flush with Outdoor Air
ASHRAE guidance recommends flushing the building with outdoor air. Our HVAC retrofit process helps with this process with complete replacement of the blower systems including the ECM Fan Array. This process keeps AHU in top running condition. The result is built-in operational redundancy, improved IAQ and lower energy costs.
To keep air free from pathogens, bipolar ionization technology installed within the AHU destroys them in the system and also in the occupied space. These devices release positive and negative ions that cluster around pathogens and kill them. Moreover, bipolar ionization makes filters more efficient by clumping particles together and reduces odors from smoke, gases and VOC.
PURE+AeraMax devices achieves advanced filteration in rooms with multi-stage filters (antimicrobial coated pre, carbon and HEPA) and smart controls to operate in rooms up to 1,400 square feet.
Modes of Operation for the Building
Maintaining safety after reopening requires monitoring. Our IAQ Guard system provides 24/7 IAQ surveillance to alert building managers when temperature, relative humidity, CO2, particulates (pm2.5, pm10) and/or VOC exceeds the set parameters for healthy building operation . As you know, it is important to maintain relative humidity in the 40-60% range to minimize the spread bio-contaminants. Plus, CO2 and VOC build up are good surrogates to evaluate ventilation. Finally, pathogens clump to particulates and spread throughout occupied spaces. IAQ Guard the first line of defense against dangers to the indoor environment.
Exceeding ASHRAE guidance also requires attention to water systems. Legionella risks in buildings increase during closures. Any reopening plan should include testing for this bacteria that causes Legionnaires disease. Our Building Sciences division will include Legionella bacteria water sampling with our Building Health Check, or can perform this independently. Additionally, our EDLab can receive samples from your team and analyze them for Legionella bacteria.
All of our inspections and assessments lower the risk for the spread of pathogens, but they have an added benefit in energy savings. Improvements to HVAC systems, as well as steam coil cleaning and disinfection, improves their performance. This reduces, not just energy costs, but repair and maintenance costs too. It also extends the life of equipment while keeping building occupants safe.
Exceeding ASHRAE Guidance Today
We provide services to help businesses exceed ASHRAE guidance for building reopening. These services reduce energy costs, improve equipment performance, and save money. Contact Pure Air Control Services today. Call 1-800-422-7873 or email us here.