For help mitigating COVID-19 transmission, check out this company’s HVAC retrofits across DC’s 117 schools

by Brianna Crandall — November 23, 2020 — As Washington, DC’s students, teachers and administrators prepare for their eventual return to the classroom, school officials plan for the air they’ll breathe there to be cleaner and safer than ever thanks in part to system-wide HVAC retrofits. The District of Columbia Public School System (DCPS) contracted with local design engineering firm Setty & Associates to support the district’s #reopenstrong effort by retrofitting the HVAC systems across all 117 DCPS schools.

Setty, which is led by a member of the Epidemic Task Force at the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), has been working with DCPS Facilities and Program Managers to assess school facilities and provide design strategies that mitigate the risk of transmission through heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.

As part of this work, Setty focused on dilution, disinfection, and filtration across HVAC systems at all 117 schools. The firm provided clean air assessments, design guidance, bridging documents and quality assurance and control services. They then performed emergency indoor air quality retrofits for every school.

In addition, when classes resume, every single classroom across the entire DCPS school system will have a portable, high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) air cleaner equipped with indoor air quality (IAQ) sensors that measure fresh dilution and filtration levels. Setty is also working with DCPS on recommended filter upgrades to MERV 13 and programming motor protection sequences into the schools’ HVAC systems to avoid motor fatigue.

Alongside more than a dozen general contractors, Setty also oversaw and advised the DCPS team on the technical aspects of incorporating these solutions. Setty will continue to monitor the ongoing efficiency of the filtration and dilution as well through its software partners Intellimation, which provides autonomous building performance optimization solutions, and SYYCLOPS, which provides digital twin technology for real-time building data and analysis.

Setty President Raj Setty stated:

We applaud mayor Muriel Bowser and her team for their approach to making sure the air DC’s teachers and students breathe in the classroom is as safe as it can be. We’re glad to be able to apply not just our own expertise but the expertise of organizations like ASHRAE to keep DC students — including the children of our own team members — safe when they go back into the classroom.

Learn more from the Setty & Associates website.