Facilities COVID Response – HVAC Improvements

Posted in Announcements

As the Campus opens its doors after the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has taken several measures to ensure a safe atmosphere for the students, faculty, and staff. Facilities Management is working on improving the HVAC system to minimize the spread of viruses through the HVAC system.

The GU goals as we prepare for and experience occupancy:

  • Application of best practices to optimize HVAC/Controls operations to minimize disease transmission
  • Execution of an actionable, clear, detailed, and specific plan for HVAC/Controls installations, modifications, and tests
  • Development of a plan of customized actions, including on-going maintenance, recurring quality control checks, and measurement and verification activities to ensure compliance with best practices
  • Communication of the planned actions, completed actions, and on-going activities as needed to relevant stakeholders.

As we work to accomplish these goals, we have teamed up with several contractors to help achieve these tasks.

  1. Sebesta (NV5) will be working with the operation teams to provide guidance, apply best practices and check/verify HVAC operations to prepare for occupancy as well as develop and outline the necessary and recurring actions to ensure compliance with best practices during occupancy.
  2. James Posey Associates will be working with the operation teams to identify existing configurations of HVAC systems and look for ways to improve the current system ventilation and avoidance of recirculation from zone to zone.
  3. Boland will be retrofitting more than 52 units to incorporate filtration that is efficient at capturing airborne viruses in several campus buildings where students gather for dining, recreation, athletics, or research. They will be using UV-C filtration on more than 90% percent of the units retrofitted. We have chosen these 52 units carefully, considering areas where face coverings and/or social distancing is not feasible

Air Filtration
When it comes to the air filtration of a building, it is vital to understand how improving the air quality will lessen the spread of dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) shows the overall effectiveness of an air filter system. The higher the value, the less dust and airborne contaminants can pass through a filter. The buildings currently being updated have between an 8 and 11 rating. Where after the system upgrades will have a MERV 13 or MERV 15 rating. The UV-C retrofit is a short-wave ultraviolet, which is the most effective wavelength for germicidal control. The UV-C filtration systems are shown to inactivate viruses, bacteria, and fungi.