ASHRAE Standard 241 helps FMs prepare indoor environments for virus season

Posted by Johann Nacario — October 30, 2023 — As the world continues to grapple with a resurgence of Covid-19, along with the flu and RSV, the importance of clean air flow in buildings has never been more critical, says global building technology society ASHRAE, a leader in the development of guidance proven instrumental in safeguarding public health. Now, the Society’s pioneering resource, ASHRAE Standard 241, Control of Infectious Aerosols, is empowering building owners, operators and professionals to proactively protect indoor environments during this fall and winter virus season.

ASHRAE 241-2023 Control of Infectious Aerosols coverASHRAE Standard 241 establishes minimum requirements to reduce the risk of airborne aerosol transmission, such as the SARS-COV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19; the flu virus; and other pathogens in buildings like single and multifamily homes, offices, schools, and healthcare facilities. Published in June and praised by former White House Covid Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha as “…one of the most important public health interventions seen in years,” Standard 241 is the first consensus-based, code-enforceable standard of its kind, having the potential for adoption at the federal level for all buildings, according to ASHRAE.

2023-24 ASHRAE President Ginger Scoggins, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE, pointed out:

The world knows ASHRAE’s leadership in sustainable, energy efficient building technology, but we are also leaders in the development of public health standards that are making incredible impacts on building occupants around the world. The importance of improved indoor air quality and ventilation became topics of mainstream concern during the pandemic and ASHRAE remained committed to prioritizing the health and well-being of building occupants. Standard 241 is a blueprint for building designers, owners and operators with long-term benefits.

ASHRAE Standard 241 provides comprehensive guidance on the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems to control the spread of infectious aerosols. The standard also includes recommendations for ventilation rates, filtration and air cleaning technologies, along with a building readiness plan that documents procedures for assessing existing or new HVAC systems to determine if they are working properly.

Scoggins continued:

With the fall and winter virus season approaching, mitigating the spread of airborne infections will be of even greater importance, and incorporating the guidance in Standard 241 can be a major step forward in addressing clean air flow goals.

For more information on ASHRAE Standard 241, Control of Infectious Aerosols, including related resources, visit ASHRAE.