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ASHRAE Guidelines to Help Prepare School HVAC Systems for Reopening

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has released a very comprehensive document to guide educational buildings in safely reopening.


ASHRAE: ASHRAE is a global organization dedicated to advancing human well-being through heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Their research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education has made them an authority on building systems design and operation. Reopening Guide: The 41 page guide is very comprehensive, featuring practical checklists and information to ensure student and occupant safety. High level summary of the general recommendations from ASHRAE:

  • Inspection and Maintenance: Consider assessing the condition of systems and making necessary repairs. All building owners and service professionals should follow ASHRAE Standard 180-2018 “Standard Practice for the Inspection and Maintenance of Commercial HVAC Systems.”

  • Ventilation: A good supply of outside air, in accordance with ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2019, to dilute indoor contaminants is a first line of defense against aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Pre- and post-occupancy purge cycles are recommended to flush the building with clean air.

  • Filtration: Use of at least MERV-13 rated filters is recommended if it does not adversely impact system operation. If MERV-13 filters cannot be used, including when there is no mechanical ventilation of a space, portable HEPA air cleaners in occupied spaces may be considered.

  • Air Cleaning: Air cleaners such as germicidal ultraviolet air disinfection devices may also be considered to supplement ventilation and filtration. Technologies and specific equipment should be evaluated to ensure they will effectively clean space air without generating additional contaminants or negatively impacting space air distribution.

  • Energy Use Considerations: In selecting mitigation strategies, consideration should be given to energy use as there may be multiple ways to achieve performance goals that have greatly different energy use impact. Control changes and use of energy recovery to limit or offset the effect of changes in outdoor air ventilation rate and filter efficiency may reduce or offset energy and operating cost penalties.

  • Water System Precautions: Buildings that have been unoccupied could have stagnant water, and water systems should be flushed to remove potential contaminants. Utilizing ASHRAE Standard 188 and Guideline 12 can help minimize the risk of water-borne pathogens such as legionella.

Full guide here. How We Can Help: As HVAC experts with decades of experience, we can walk you through the guide and through your building and make recommendations based on your unique system to fulfill the guidelines. Contact us at: https://www.mannenergysolutions.com/ 150 Bridgeland Ave Toronto, M6A 1Z5 Canada info@mannenergysolutions.com

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