Reopening buildings during COVID-19 is a challenge. For one thing, we now know about the airborne transmission of the coronavirus. For this reason, improving ventilation is a top goal for facilities managers. Addressing ventilation and IAQ issues requires a plan. Cleaning, testing, and monitoring are a part of that. Carrying through with that plan keeps buildings safe.
The Importance of Improving Ventilation
Airflow is a concern for hospitals and restaurants. It’s also important for schools and other institutional buildings. For example, look at California’s San Quentin State Prison. Poor ventilation there helped spread the coronavirus. As a result, the virus infected over two-thirds of the prison population. Schools aren’t prisons, of course, but risks remain.
Floating particles are a challenge to keeping air clean. Because they move throughout the building, clean air in one area does not guarantee it in another. The risk of airborne spread means building managers must improve ventilation.
New ASHRAE Guidelines to Improve Ventilation
On August 19, 2020 ASHRAE released updated guidance in the form of a building readiness guide that includes specifics on improving ventilation with a pre and post flushing strategy during the covid-19 pandemic. It also demonstrates the importance of having management plans in place for both unoccupied buildings and those reopening. You can read about the guidance here.
Last year ASHRAE also just released new ventilation guidelines. This affects air change rates (ACR) and air changes per hour (ACH). Standards are set by occupancy level and use of the indoor space. Using this information in ventilation improvement plans helps IAQ.
Other factors that help with ventilation improvement are:
- Air exchange rates
- Airflow distribution
- Relative humidity
A plan for hospital administrators includes installing more exhaust ventilation where needed. Boosting the efficiency of filtration on HVAC systems is also important. Getting a good estimate of room pressure is helpful as well.
HVAC Assessment for Improving Ventilation
Before attempting to improve ventilation, the HVAC system needs an HVAC Hygiene Assessment. Because it looks at the cleanliness of AHUs, building managers learn the impact on IAQ. Collected samples give insight into pressure and airflow. It also tests for the presence of pathogens like the coronavirus. Managers send the collected samples to the lab for testing and a report helps them make changes.
3 Steps to Ventilation Improvement
After the assessment, facilities managers must follow through with HVAC cleaning. Pure Air Control Services advises three steps for this.
1. Clean Evaporator Coils and Air Handling Units
The PURE-Steam system cleans the evaporator coil to provide the best airflow. Changing out the filter is also effective in improving ventilation. Cleaning the air handling unit keeps it free of bacteria and viruses. When the cleaning is complete, a report gives information on each AHU.
2. Clean Supply and Return Ductwork
PURE-Duct gets inside the ductwork. The system uses high-pressure air turbulence to remove dust and debris. After that, an industrial-strength vacuum system with HEPA filters removes the particles. This provides the cleanest air possible.
3. Track Indoor Air Quality
IAQ Guard also tracks important levels such as:
- Particulate matter
As a result, this information helps buildings meet the standards set by ASHRAE, LEED, and OSHA.
Pure Air Controls Ventilation Improvement
Pure Air Control Services helps facilities managers’ with improving ventilation in their buildings. For more information ,contact us today.