In response to a general loosening of COVID restrictions and anticipation of more workers returning to offices, President Biden recently unveiled the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge. Essentially, the challenge is a call to action with a set of guiding principles and best practices to assist building owners and operators in reducing risks from airborne viruses and other contaminants indoors. Specifically, the challenge outlines, via input from the Department of Energy, the Centers for Disease Control, the Environmental Protection Agency and other governmental entities, steps businesses can undertake to improve air quality and health.
There are four component areas to the challenge, supported by a Best Practices Guide:
1. Create a clean indoor air action plan that assesses indoor air quality, plans for upgrades and improvements, and includes HVAC inspections and maintenance
This step involves an assessment of how air is brought into a building and the role HVAC plays in distributing air throughout spaces. Here, the challenge asks building owners and managers to work with HVAC professionals to balance systems, ensuring that ventilation is adequate and effective.
Additionally, this step focuses on how much clean air is needed for each enclosed space, as well as assessing high risk areas in buildings. For example, in educational institutions, a high-risk area may be the nurse’s office, where ill students congregate or are treated. In the case of commercial buildings, a high-risk area would be the lobby because of high-traffic patterns, or restrooms, which are at risk of virus and bacteria transmission.
2. Optimize fresh air ventilation by bringing in and circulating clean outdoor air indoors
While a focus in the challenge guidelines, this component proves difficult to achieve for some building owners and managers, in that many corporate offices involve windows that don’t open. In past years, buildings were sealed against the outdoor elements as an energy saving move, because open windows—bringing fresh outside air in—taxed HVAC systems, requiring them to work harder and longer. To this end, the guidelines covered the following solution, which offers a realistic alternative.
3. Enhance air filtration and cleaning using the central HVAC system and in-room air cleaning devices
One step in assessing the capabilities of existing HVAC systems prior to enhancement lies in getting accurate information regarding optimizations. To gauge how enclosed spaces are currently faring, individuals can use interactive ventilation tools to determine effectiveness. Still, revamping or completely overhauling existing HVAC systems can be overwhelming and frankly, unrealistic given economic times.
Instead, building owners and facility managers might consider the enhancement of indoor air quality through the installation of in-room air cleaning devices, like the Fellowes line of AeraMax Pro commercial-grade air purifiers.
4. Engage the building community by communicating with building occupants to increase awareness, commitment and participation
Here, the challenge calls for active engagement regarding building occupants, with building owners and managers communicating directly to occupants about the types of actions that are taking place to boost air quality. This could take the shape of facility walkthroughs, signage or social media posts that create awareness of efforts.
How to Meet the Challenge
For over a decade, Fellowes AeraMax Pro air purifiers have helped businesses provide safe and clean indoor environments, using a unique four-stage True HEPA filtration system that efficiently removes airborne contaminants like COVID-19 from enclosed spaces.
For example, AeraMax Pro AM3 and AM4 units have been proven in independent laboratory testing to be effective in eliminating aerosolized concentration of SARS-CoV-2 by 99.9999% through a single air pass test of the purifier. In addition, AeraMax Pro air purifiers reached 99.99% airborne reduction of a surrogate Human Coronavirus 229E in a 20m3 test chamber within one hour of operation in a separate test.
What’s more, the wall-mounted and free-standing air purifiers with H13 True HEPA remove at least 99.95% of particles as small as 0.1 microns, including allergens such as pollen, dust, pet dander and smoke, effectively cleaning indoor air and providing up to five air changes per hour (ACH).
To learn more about Fellowes AeraMax Pro air purifiers and how your business can thrive under the presidential challenge, please check-out the following resources: