The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has developed a guide to address concerns about the novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
HVAC practitioners have been fielding queries from clients since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus a public health emergency.
The COVID-19 Preparedness Resources webpage is a reference for building industry professionals about the operation and maintenance of heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems.
Because small particles remain airborne for some period of time, the design and operation of HVAC systems that move air can affect disease transmission in several ways, such as by the following:
- Supplying clean air to susceptible occupants
- Containing contaminated air and/or exhausting it to the outdoors
- Diluting the air in a space with cleaner air from outdoors and/or by filtering the air
- Cleaning the air within the room.
2019–20 ASHRAE President Darryl Boyce believes that healthy buildings are a part of the solution.
“ASHRAE’s COVID-19 Preparedness Resources are available as guidance to building owners, operators and engineers on how to best protect occupants from exposure to the virus, in particular in relation to airborne particles that might be circulated by HVAC systems,” he says.
ASHRAE recommends the following strategies of interest to address disease transmission: dilution ventilation, laminar and other in-room flow regimes, differential room pressurisation, personalised ventilation, source-capture ventilation, filtration (central or unitary), and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI).
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.
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