The university is expediting the replacement of standard air filters in HVAC systems with high-efficiency filters as an added safety measure against COVID-19 virus.
A campus-wide survey of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems by consulting firm P2S found that a majority can accommodate air filters with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) 13, which is the highest filtration level that is compatible with existing systems.
As of Aug. 2, MERV 13 filters were fitted into HVAC systems 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)
- College of Environmental Design (Building 7)
- Darlene May Gym (Building 41)
- Kellogg Arena (Building 43)
- The Collins College of Hospitality Management (Buildings 79, 79A and 79B)
- College of Business Administration (Buildings 162 and 164)
- Center for Regenerative Studies (Building 209)
- AGRIscapes/Farm Store (Building 211)
Orders for the high-performance filters have been placed for the Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture (Building 2), College of Engineering (Building 9), Art Department and Engineering Annex (Building 13), University Library (Building 15), Student Health Center (Building 46), CLA Building (Building 98), Police and Parking Services (Building 109) and the College of Business Administration (Building 163). Once orders arrive, MERV 13 filters can be installed within one or two days.
In buildings with HVAC systems that cannot accommodate MERV 13 filters, air cleaners and air scrubbers will be deployed to provide an added layer of risk reduction. An initial order of 200 air scrubbers arrived in late July. (See guidelines on deployment of air scrubbers).
“We are working extremely hard to ensure the health and safety of everyone returning to campus,” said Aaron Klemm, senior associate vice president of Facilities Planning & Management. “The installation of upgraded filters is just the latest step we have taken in a multi-layered strategy against the pandemic.”
Upgrades to HVAC systems 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 were the first to receive the upgrades.
Prior to upgrading air filters and HVAC systems, Custodial Services also completed a deep cleaning of campus facilities in anticipation of staff, faculty and students returning for the fall semester.