ASHRAE announced a society-wide effort to respond to the current global COVID-19 pandemic and provide guidance on how to ensure that buildings are prepared for future epidemics.
The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has been established to help deploy ASHRAE’s technical resources to address the challenges of the current pandemic and future epidemics as it relates to the effects of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems on disease transmission in healthcare facilities, the workplace, home, public and recreational environments. The task force will also provide recommendations for setting up temporary field hospitals in convention centers, arenas and indoor stadiums to deal with surges.
The primary role of the task force is to maintain communication with members, industry partners, building owners, facility operators, government agencies and the general public. Specific responsibilities of the task force include:
- Serving as a clearinghouse to review all technical questions and requests for technical guidance submitted to ASHRAE;
- Coordinating activities of ASHRAE’s internal resources;
- Partnering with and monitoring the activities of external organizations, including the more than 60 members of the ASHRAE Associate Society Alliance (AASA) of organizations related to the HVACR industry around the world; and
- Reviewing, organizing, consolidating and publishing clear and concise summaries with citations of the most relevant information available to the built environment
2013-14 ASHRAE Presidential Member William Bahnfleth, Ph.D., P.E., will chair the task force.
“We have assembled an outstanding group of experts to serve on the task force,” said Bahnfleth. “They are high-level building professionals with collective experience in design, construction, operations and research, who are well qualified to offer guidance on how to protect building occupants and support healthcare facility needs during the uncertainty of an epidemic.”
Leading experts in medicine and public health will serve as consultants to the task force.
Voting members of the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force include: Bahnfleth, chair, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force; Max Sherman, Ph.D., ASHRAE Environmental Health Committee; Luke Leung, P.E., ASHRAE Environmental Health Committee; Stephanie Taylor, M.D., ASHRAE Environmental Health Committee; Jason DeGraw, Ph.D., ASHRAE Technical Committee 2.10, Resilience and Security; Traci Hanegan, P.E., ASHRAE Technical Committee 9.6, Healthcare Facilities; Steve Martin, Ph.D., P.E., National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH); Richard Hermans, P.E., ASHRAE Standing Standard Project Committee 170, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities; and James Ridenhour, P.E., consultant.
The corresponding/nonvoting members include: Walid Chakroun, Ph.D., ASHRAE Government Affairs Committee; Wade Conlan, P.E., ASHRAE Environmental Health Committee; Dennis Knight, P.E., ASHRAE Board of Directors; Jay Kohler, P.E., chair, ASHRAE Technical Activities Committee; and Wayne Stoppelmoor, CEM, chair, ASHRAE Standards Committee.
“ASHRAE is a global, grassroots organization of more than 57,000 members in 130 countries, so we have boots on the ground around the world," said Bahnfleth. "Our members and chapters take the initiative to help wherever they are and are already addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. That is also true of our technical and standards committees. When called upon by circumstances to assist in situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic, they act within their spheres of competence to do whatever they can to help.”
Members of ASHRAE’s Healthcare Facilities technical committee (TC 9.6) and ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2017 -- Ventilation of Health Care Facilities committee have been working with members of the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) to produce guidance that can be implemented immediately to help hospitals and clinics cope with the increasing volume of COVID-19 cases. Standard 170 already has had a beneficial impact by providing guidance for the design of existing infection isolation, intensive care and critical care rooms in countries that have been most severely affected by this virus. An extensive presentation has been prepared and is being presented to various groups and organizations, including ASHRAE chapters. The presentation includes guidance on how to create additional observation/segregation rooms for a small-scale admission surge as well as the establishment of wards/suites for a large-scale surge.
Questions and requests for technical guidance and interpretations should be submitted to the following email address: COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force including resources and updates, visit the ASHRAE COVID-19 Preparedness Resources webpage at ashrae.org/COVID19.