As temperatures drop and more people gather indoors, concerns about coronavirus particles floating in the air are on the rise. Officials at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign have made adjustments to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to provide adequate ventilation, says Mohamed Attalla, the executive director of Facilities and Services.
He spoke with News Bureau Physical Sciences Editor Lois Yoksoulian about the proactive measures taken to assure that campus HVAC systems are operating correctly and supplying fresh outdoor air to buildings.
The Facilities and Services website says that campus buildings are equipped to meet the guidelines set forth by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. What does that mean?
ASHRAE Standard 62.1 provides ventilation rates for acceptable indoor air quality in buildings. This standard provides the basis for calculating the amount of fresh outdoor air to be supplied to buildings. During the pandemic, buildings will have a lower occupancy level, which increases the amount of available fresh air per person and provides even greater dilution.
What, specifically, is being done to comply with the ASHRAE standard?
All HVAC units on campus were physically inspected for proper operation before the beginning of the fall semester, emphasizing the fresh air dampers. Operating schedules have been extended across campus for air-handling units to run from 6 a.m. to midnight, seven days per week. Utilizing the building-automation system, set points for devices such as carbon dioxide sensors have been modified to further increase air exchanges in the buildings. In large gathering spaces such as classrooms, higher-efficiency air filters have been installed where it is feasible with the existing HVAC systems.
What campus spaces are included?
All spaces owned by the university are covered. For leased or rental spaces, occupants should work with the building owner. Facilities and Services is advising departments on the types of questions they should discuss with the building owner. If occupants of a leased space need further guidance, they can send an email to email@example.com.
Are there any other resources available to students, staff and faculty members to learn more?
Some links to relevant resources include The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education; the ASHRAE website and their statements on the relationship between COVID-19 and HVAC in buildings; and the National Air Filtration Association’s COVID-19 and air filtration list of frequently asked questions.
via Canton Daily Ledger – Canton, IL
September 29, 2020 at 09:20PM