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  • Writer's pictureMichael McMahon


ATLANTA (August 18, 2020) – As many buildings are preparing to reopen during this pandemic, the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has updated its reopening “Building Readiness” guidance for HVAC systems to help mitigate the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. 

“The Building Readiness Guide includes additional information and clarifications so that owners can avoid operating their HVAC systems 24/7,” said Wade Conlan, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Building Readiness Team lead. “By rolling out this updated guidance, we are hoping to provide a more robust structure for building owners to complete the objectives of their Building Readiness Plan and anticipate the needs of building occupants.”

Specific updated recommendations to the building readiness guidance include the following:

  • Pre- and Post- Flushing Strategy: The intent of this strategy is to ensure the ventilation assist in removing bioburden during, pre-, and post- occupancy of the building. The building is flushed for a duration sufficient to reduce concentration of airborne infectious particles by 95%. For a well-mixed space, this would require three air changes of building volume based on outside air cfm (or three equivalent air changes including the effect of filtration and air cleaners) as detailed in the calculation methodology.  There is also some guidance on methods to potentially increase the quantity of outdoor air introduced by systems. 

  • Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) Systems Operation: Helps determine if your energy wheel is well designed and/or well maintained and whether it should remain in operation. Keep in mind, that if any issues are fixed it could be reengaged.  Helpful links and information to the ERV Guide which will help owners determine if their energy wheel should remain in operation. 

  • Building Readiness Modes of Operation for the Building: These should include the following:

  • Epidemic Operating Conditions in Place (ECiP)

    • Occupied- at pre-epidemic capacity

    • Occupied- at reduced capacity o Unoccupied temporarily

    • Operation during building closure for indefinite periods

  • Post-Epidemic Conditions in Place (P-ECiP)

    • Prior to Occupying

    • Operational Considerations once Occupied

The guidance still addresses the tactical commissioning and systems analysis to develop a Building Readiness Plan, increased filtration, air cleaning strategies, domestic and plumbing water systems, and overall improvements to a systems ability to mitigate virus transmission.

To view the complete ASHRAE Building Readiness guide and other COVID-19 resources, visit

About ASHRAE Founded in 1894, ASHRAE is a global professional society committed to serve humanity by advancing the arts and sciences of heating ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration and their allied fields.

As an industry leader in research, standards writing, publishing, certification and continuing education, ASHRAE and its members are dedicated to promoting a healthy and sustainable built environment for all, through strategic partnerships with organizations in the HVAC&R community and across related industries.


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