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Weekly COVID-19 Update: New Guidance Addresses Airborne Infectious Aerosol Exposure, Recommendations for Communities of Faith Buildings, and an Analysis of Building Survey Results

1/19/2021
ANSI News

The ANSI Federation and standardization community are stepping up with guidance, resources, and initiatives to support public health, safety, and infrastructure during the COVID-19 outbreak. Suggestions for news items may be submitted to pr@ansi.org. All submissions are published at ANSI's discretion.

ASHRAE's New Guidance Addresses Control of Airborne Aerosol Exposure, Providing Recommendations for Communities of Faith Buildings

This month, ASHRAE's Epidemic Task Force released new guidance to address control of airborne infectious aerosol exposure and recommendations for communities of faith buildings. Specific recommendations cover:

  • Public health guidance
  • Ventilation, filtration, air cleaning, (including outdoor airflow rates guidance for ventilation as specified by applicable codes and standards)
  • Air distribution to promote the mixing of space air
  • HVAC system operation
  • System Commissioning, to verify that HVAC systems are functioning as designed

“This guidance outlines a clear approach for lessening the risk of infectious aerosol exposure for building occupants that can be applied in a wide range of applications, from homes to offices to mobile environments such as vehicles and ships,” said William Bahnfleth, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force chair. “ASHRAE’s Core Recommendations are based on an equivalent clean air supply approach that allows the effects of filters, air cleaners, and other removal mechanisms to be added together to achieve an exposure reduction target.”

ASHRAE also announced that its task force’s Communities of Faith Buildings guidance offers recommendations on conducting worship services under epidemic conditions.

“The intent of the Communities of Faith guidance is to offer those who operate and care for buildings used for worship a plan for implementing short- and long-term HVAC strategies to reduce the possibilities of transmission of the SARS-CoV2-2 virus. The document also helps communities move toward a new 'normal' operation after this public health emergency nears an end,” said Rick Karg, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force member.

Access the new "ASHRAE Core Recommendations for Reducing Airborne Infectious Aerosol Exposure, and "Communities of Faith Buildings Guidance," via ashrae.org/COVID-19, or see more details in ASHRAE's press release.

ICC Releases Analysis and Findings on Building Survey and COVID-19

The International Code Council (ICC) has published a document that provides analysis and findings based on survey results from code departments across the country. Amid the pandemic, the survey results, which include data from more than 800 respondents from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, provide better insights on departments’ virtual capabilities, and reveal best practices that could help inform approaches. Ultimately, the survey responses informs ICC's ongoing efforts to identify best practices and advocate for needed resources.

ICC notes that it concluded a follow-up survey in mid-September 2020 that builds upon the previous one (April 2020) to determine how departments have responded in the interim. Among the questions addressed: What virtual needs still exist? What strategies have worked best? What additional resources could help?

Among the main findings:

  • Nearly all departments surveyed are performing inspections (98% versus 93% in April), while nearly half still have key staff working remotely (47% versus 66% in April)
  • There have been greater improvements in access to code materials (16% lacking access versus 25% in April) and the ability to conduct remote virtual inspections (53% lacking that capability versus 61% in April)
  • One in 10 respondents were able to access the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund that the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, provided to aid state, local, tribal and territorial governments in response to this public health emergency

Access the ICC survey analysis and read more about ICC's latest COVID-19 efforts in its Coronavirus Response Center page.

See more ANSI member efforts in the ANSI COVID-19 Resource Webpage Highlighting Standardization Community Response

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