EAPC offers HVAC upgrades and building maintenance strategies to improve indoor air quality and mitigate the spread of airborne infectious diseases.

 

MECHANICAL SYSTEMS ASSESSMENT

  • Assess mechanical systems to ensure outside air quantities meet code and system capacities for incorporating more outside air
  • Provide filtration upgrades and system capacities for improving the efficiency of your filters

HVAC SYSTEMS CONTROLS

  • Verify current controls and provide options for improved indoor air quality

AIR CHANGE RATES

  • Verify that occupied spaces have the recommended air change rates

CLASSROOM DENSITY ANALYSIS

  • Determine the density based on outside air flow rates and current code requirements

HVAC SYSTEM UPGRADES

  • Offer product solutions such as UV lights, Ionization, filtration, etc. to help mitigate virus spread

UNDERSTANDING HVAC SYSTEMS TO CONTROL MICRO-ORGANISMS

There are three basic approaches to using HVAC to control micro-organisms and other fine particulates. Generally, a combination of these is required for effective hazard control, and schools are doing these already. This is a time to thoughtfully review and adjust for the added hazard of COVID-19 as addressing one hazard may unintentionally create another.

Air Flow & Replacement Air

  • Ensure proper flow of filtered/replacement air is maintained and replace as much air as is feasible with clean outside air
  • Consider how opening and closing doors for noise or traffic control may affect the air flow of your building and adjust accordingly

Removal/Capture of Particulates/Micro-Organisms

  • Increase filtration to a preferred MERV rating of 13 or higher if your system can handle it
  • Add in-room air exchangers with a HEPA rating for larger rooms or hallways
  • Maintain a relative humidity between 40% and 60%
  • Consider an Electronic Particle Polarizing Filtration Media (this system can be large and hard to retrofit into existing systems)
  • Install Bi-Polar Ionization Air Cleaning Units (be aware that some systems produce ozone which is harmful)

Sanitizing/Killing Infectious Micro-Organisms in the Air Stream

  • Ultraviolet light sanitizing units in the 240-280NM wavelength (UVC) have proven effective aids to reducing infectious aerosols
  • UV Light can be harmful to filter media if exposed
  • Elements need cleaning and yearly replacement
  • Direct UVC exposure is hazardous to humans; eye and skin damage can occur in seconds

OPTIONS FOR CONTAINING HARMFUL AIRBORNE PARTICLES

  • Consider creating a negative pressure room for quarantining symptomatic students
  • Neutralize pressure room with a negative pressure switch or continuous negative pressure room
  • Creating a negative pressure zone in a single small room could be as simple as adding a bathroom exhaust fan directly to the outside and blocking the air returns

MAINTENANCE ITEMS CHECKLIST PRIOR TO OCCUPANCY

  • Check supply, return, exhaust, and outside air louvers for blockages
  • Address any areas of complaints or deficiencies from staff
  • Complete any preventative or deferred maintenance items that could improve Indoor air quality
  • Review all control sequences and verify operation
  • ASHRAE checklists 1 and 2
  • Air Flush: Operate HVAC systems in occupied mode for 1 week
    prior to occupancy
  • Water Flush: Flush cold-water system for 5 minutes and hot-water
    system for 15 minutes
  • Verify filter installation
  • Verify outside air rates and increase to code minimums
  • Verify temperatures

ONGOING MAINTENANCE

  • Daily Air Flush: Run systems in the occupied mode two hours prior to occupancy
  • Monthly control system check
  • Monthly outside and exhaust air system operations
  • Monthly checks of condensate drain pans and traps
  • Monthly filter checks

HVAC SYSTEM OPERATION DURING A PANDEMIC

  • Change the start of HVAC system operation hours to start earlier
  • Run dedicated outside air systems and exhaust fans 24/7
  • Disable demand control ventilation sequences
  • Disable any energy recovery devices with cross contamination
  • Increase to highest filtration possible for equipment
  • Increase outside air to highest possible level
Design Space Considerations

Walk through a COVID-Safe example school and learn how to best arrange and utilize spaces to avoid the spread of airborne infectious diseases.

Facility Assessments

Inspect existing facilities and systems and provide immediate and long-term options for re-opening.

Educational Workshops

Free virtual training courses including a brief overview of COVID-19 characteristics and how those characteristics impact cleaning procedures, hygiene, shared equipment, and more.