Technical guidance for building engineers, managers and operators preparing for and responding to COVID-19 can be found on a recently launched ASHRAE webpage, which opens a portal to applicable standards and supporting resource documents. This particularly targets how HVAC systems circulate airborne particles that could transmit disease and highlights infection control protocols, many of which are already ingrained standards in health care facilities.
“The Society’s position is that facilities of all types should follow, as a minimum, the latest practical standards and guidelines,” a statement from ASHRAE reiterates. “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.”
Cited resources include ASHRAE standards for indoor air quality in a range of occupancies, including residential buildings and health care facilities, as well as standards for testing air-cleaning devices and ultraviolet lamps used for germicidal irradiation (UVGI). Health care intake areas and waiting rooms, shelters and other facilities where crowds may assemble are identified as vulnerable occupancies where a heightened level of controls is recommended.
“While ASHRAE supports expanded research to fully understand how coronavirus is transmitted, we know that healthy buildings are part of the solution,” maintains Darryl Boyce, ASHRAE president for 2019-20. “ASHRAE’s COVID-19 preparedness resources are available as guidance to building owners, operators and engineers on how best to protect occupants from exposure to the virus.”