ACG member Raj Setty, CxA, Setty and Associates, published “How to prepare a facility to be IAQ centric” with Consulting Specifying Engineer discussing the ways to measure and improve upon air quality within facilities. Key topics include understanding the different engineering sensor reading to improve indoor air quality, identifying the thresholds of different variables for IAQ, as well as grasping the fundamentals of creating and air quality index.
The air quality in classrooms and our schools was not as an important topic of discussion before COVID-19 hit. School lunches, class sizes, test scores, daylighting, water quality and other items were what administrators, teachers and parents thought were the most important and budgets were deployed accordingly. Once COVID-19, an airborne virus, shut down schools, air quality and filtration elevated to the top of everyone’s list of priorities. We are in a new paradigm where air quality can be spoken in the same breath as life safety. We have to move to a more active indoor air quality monitoring and adjusting in real time. When IAQ becomes the front line of protection for students and teachers, the engineering community has a much smaller margin of error.
An important step for school districts and buildings should to return children to in-person learning has been to address ventilation and MERV 13 filtration upgrades to central air handling stations. Following ASHRAE epidemic task force guidance, the industry standard for technical air quality guidance during the pandemic, thousands of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems across the country have been addressed with filter and ventilation modifications.
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