Building owners, and mangers across the country are looking for ways to improve their HVAC systems and internal air quality in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When it comes to maintaining air quality and mitigating airborne pathogens like COVID-19 inside retail facilities, offices, and indoor gathering areas, there is no one size fits all solution. Every building owner or manager can determine the right control measures for their unique building and circumstances by taking steps to understand their facility.
The first critical step is to perform a risk assessment of the building. An effective assessment starts with a comprehensive evaluation of building systems and the identification of high-risk areas.
Building owners and manager should then consider the occupancy type of the building, the maintenance implications of the various options, and how much they want to invest in the initial cost and future operating costs.
Once we perform the risk assessment and talk through the other areas of consideration, we ask our clients if they want a temporary fix for the current situation or a permanent solution for their facility.
Temporary control measures such as portable air cleaners and operating changes to the existing HVAC system will focus on the current pandemic. Operating changes might include increasing ventilation, keeping systems fully operational for 24 hours, utilizing portable products or using humidifiers in the facility.
These control measures are frequently used to make limited impacts on their facility and budgets and are not in need of a long-term solution.
On the other hand, permanent control measures not only assist with the current COVID pandemic but may also help with future viruses (ex. flu season) and will improve the overall air quality for the long run. Such measures generally include improved ventilation, enhanced filtration systems, bipolar ionization.
When making these choices, it is recommended that building owners and managers seek help from an environmental firm (specializing in indoor air quality) that offers aforementioned products, services, and ongoing monitoring solutions.
This way, building owners and mangers can take advantage of the indoor environmental firm’s experiences with all types of facilities and ensure their needs are being met. Here at Indoor Air Quality Associates we have been using our experience in designing healthy air spaces to help our clients find solutions that are reasonable and effective in solving their air quality needs.
No matter which control measure option is chosen by a building owner or manager, it is important to follow the CDC’s findings as they relate to COVID in addition to the industry standards laid out by experts such as the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the health department, and the EPA.
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