Students, faculty and staff are getting an additional layer of risk reduction from COVID-19 as the university upgrades filters and improves the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in buildings across the campus.
The upgrades have been prioritized by building based on projected enrollment and staffing for the fall semester. Buildings with the highest projected enrollment, staffing and academic activities with higher respiratory risks will be the first to receive the upgrades.
High-performance MERV 13 filters will be fitted as soon as they are received, and the design, permitting and installation of the sensors and programming for additional ventilation will be conducted throughout the fall semester.
As of July 28, MERV 13 filters have been installed in:
- Building 1
- College of Education and Integrative Studies (Building 6)
- Music Building (Building 24)
- Drama Department/Theatre (Building 25)
- College of Science (Building 8)
- Engineering Laboratories (Building 17)
Engineering firm P2S Inc. conducted a survey and assessed air-handling systems and air filtration in HVAC systems serving 91% of the square footage on campus and offered recommendations to minimize the presence of COVID-19 and its variants within those HVAC systems.
The survey included actions already completed by the university: HVAC systems have been modified to provide daily air flushing prior to occupancy and all demand control ventilation systems were disabled to adhere to Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidelines.
P2S also recommended other actions that are being undertaken:
- Converting HVAC systems to use MERV-13 filters, which can trap smaller particles.
- Deploying air-scrubber units for high-occupancy areas or as an additional risk reduction strategy for HVAC equipment that is not able to accommodate a MERV-13 filter upgrade.
- Adjusting systems to supply additional fresh air to the buildings when feasible.
“The health and safety of the campus community is our top priority,” said Aaron Klemm, senior associate vice president of Facilities Planning & Management. “The actions that we are taking are part of the campus’ layered risk-reduction strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
P2S also made deferred maintenance recommendations such as improving static pressure controls, replacing condensate pans and cleaning the intake plenums of the HVAC systems. The P2S survey covered air handlers, supply fans and air-conditioning units of 80 campus buildings managed/owned by the university, Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, ASI, and housing facilities.