Updated: February 12, 2021 at 8:07PM
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.
HVAC Operating Schedules
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.
Even though they're outdoors, the dining tents are still mainly enclosed structures. These structures have natural openings to allow fresh air to flow inside the tent, and additional openings have been intentionally introduced to maximize this fresh air flow. The fresh air is then heated using energy drawn from the University's steam resource. These tents also include exhaust fans which help move the heated fresh air around the tent and naturally forces air out. Between the introduction of fresh air and the exhaust fans pulling air out, air is changed multiple times per hour as required for safe activity in the dining tents, including temporarily removing masks to eat a meal. These same general practices apply to the lodge tents to achieve the necessary air change requirements for the activities taking place therein.