News Brief

ASHRAE Releases COVID-19 Recommendations

From dilution to humidity control, ASHRAE offers guidance on how to reduce the spread of aerosolized pathogens in buildings.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, ASHRAE has released a position paper on managing the risk of spreading infectious disease pathogens through HVAC systems. The organization recommends a number of strategies, ranked by evidence level, including these “A-level” actions:

  • Consider designs that “promote cleaner airflow patterns” by exhausting airborne particulates.
  • Use airborne infection isolation room (AIIR) anterooms in high-risk environments.
  • Employ enhanced filtration in occupant-dense spaces.
  • Install specialized UV lighting.
  • Use local exhaust ventilation for source control.

Other, more controversial items like maintaining 40%–60% relative humidity levels are also discussed. The paper does not consider trade-offs such as increased energy use.

“Design engineers can make an essential contribution to reducing infectious aerosol transmission through the application of these strategies,” the position document notes. “Managing indoor air to control distribution of infectious aerosols is an effective intervention which adds another strategy to medical treatments and behavioral interventions in disease prevention.”

More on COVID-19

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Antimicrobials in Building Products: the COVID-19 Edition

For more information:


Published July 8, 2020

Melton, P. (2020, June 19). ASHRAE Releases COVID-19 Recommendations. Retrieved from

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