Updated: August 10, 2020 at 8:49AM

Ventilation & Air Conditioning Systems

Like most campuses, the University's buildings are equipped with a variety of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Most recirculating air systems are equipped with MERV 13 and MERV 14 filters that help mitigate the transmission of infectious aerosols. Building air systems also distribute fresh air throughout the building that meets or exceeds the ventilation requirements of the building functions.

In all buildings, even those with the most state-of-the-art HVAC systems, the wearing of masks and maintaining physical distance from others are the most effective ways to prevent transmission via droplets and aerosols.

Operating Schedules

During the fifth phase of the campus reopening plan, the HVAC in all research and regularly occupied buildings continue to operate on their normal schedules.

Other buildings with reduced or no occupancy have had their building HVAC systems operate at a minimum of one hour per day to ensure regular ventilation of the facilities.

Prior to occupancy, each building that was hibernated had the air systems operated continuously for at least 48 hours. Additionally, air filters were inspected and fit tested throughout all campus buildings nearly all of which are equipped with MERV 13 or MERV 14 final filters, which is consistent with guidance from leading health and professional organizations regarding reducing virus transmission. These filters are capable of trapping contaminants in the 0.3 - 1.0 μm (micron), including all bacteria, droplet nuclei, and most smoke. The HVAC systems on campus provide the maximum amount of fresh air that the equipment is capable of providing at all outside temperatures, and operate daily pre and post-occupancy. The air exchange rate of individual rooms varies slightly. For the vast majority of classrooms, the ACH (air changes per hour) ranges from 3-15 ACH depending on the conditions within the room. As the demand increases in a space, so does the ACH within the range.

Opening windows in classrooms and offices can negatively influence the operation of the HVAC systems throughout the building, especially in their ability to control humidity. Please keep windows closed.