Horizon Engineering Associates (HEA) has been working with various universities to test and document ventilation rates for their buildings, to identify spaces safe for occupancy to minimize adverse health effects (COVID-19). Typical spaces include: lecture classrooms, laboratories, music rehearsal spaces and common areas. The primary purpose of the testing and inspection has been verification of ventilation rates against minimum standards of American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 62.1 Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality, confirm basic fan and damper functionality and confirm actual filtration conditions compared to CDC recommendations.
HEA completed an inspection of the air handler units for proper operation and maintenance including filter condition and damper operation. After measuring airflow of supply and return diffusers in each space, air changes per hour were calculated to identify airflow rate of the space.
The measured airflow rates were compared to and verified against the requirements set forth by the ASHRAE Standard 62.1. The expectations were to determine if the ventilation systems dedicated to the identified spaces provide sufficient outside airflow to the space to satisfy the ASHRAE requirements. Based on ASHRAE requirements for acceptable outside air flow and the occupancy allowed by NYC Building Codes, results from each location tested have been documented on a room-by-room basis and compiled into a table indicating the final results for each.
Clients were provided a report of findings including recommendations for maintaining the indoor environment conditions to adhere to industry recommendations as they relate to COVID-19 (i.e. ASHRAE, BCxA). These recommendations took into consideration the capacity and limitations of the existing systems.
Ancillary to the issues related to ASHRAE 62.1 and CDC recommendations, the following are a few examples of issues observed and corrected:
- Failed VAV controllers; dampers not modulating properly.
- Outside air, return air, and spill air damper actuators not controlling properly.
- Outside air, return air, and mixed air temperature sensors reporting back incorrect temperatures.
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