HVAC Strategies to Improve Indoor Air Quality in a Post-Coronavirus World

Kris Schnitgen, PE, LEED AP
Principal | Healthcare Market Practice Leader | Senior Mechanical Engineer
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Indoor air quality is becoming more paramount in all types of facilities in light of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans, on average, spend 90 percent of their time indoors. As businesses reopen and employees return to work, building owners are seeking strategies to protect the health of their building occupants. While there are several factors to be considered and methods available to control the spread of airborne pathogens, the obvious method is through the HVAC systems.

In the white paper, “HVAC Strategies to Improve Indoor Air Quality in a Post-Coronavirus World,” Kris Schnitgen, PE, LEED AP, Principal and Senior Mechanical Engineer at Kohrs Lonnemann Heil Engineers, Inc. (KLH Engineers), provides an in-depth analysis of the advantages and challenges of several HVAC strategies used to help eliminate airborne pathogens including:

  • HVAC system operation.
  • Outdoor airflow.
  • Air filtration.
  • Bi-polar ionization.
  • Ultraviolet and germicidal irradiation (UVGI).
  • Heat.
  • Temperature and humidity control.
  • Real-time reporting of indoor air quality.

Implementing only one of these methods will not be as effective as implementing several lines of defense. Each option should be carefully weighed and studied based on the application and retrofit conditions. In addition, some methods will require the expertise of a mechanical engineer as well as personnel training following implementation.

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About the Author:

As an industry expert on indoor air quality, Kris Schnitgen, PE, LEED AP, is a Principal at KLH Engineers with more than 20 years of experience specializing in mechanical systems studies, building assessments and HVAC systems design.

With extensive knowledge surrounding HVAC technologies, Kris helps clients understand their challenges and creates the best strategic design solutions to achieve their goals within budget and ensure the building functions best for its end users. He has served as a trusted advisor to clients across multiple markets throughout the United States including the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Nike, Macy’s, Kroger, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, and The Ohio State University, among others.

About KLH Engineers:

KLH Engineers is nationally ranked among the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing and technology engineering firms. As a leader in the AEC industry, KLH leverages building information modeling (BIM) and advanced in-house technology to deliver innovative and value-driven solutions. KLH has experience in all 50 states and serves the civic, education, healthcare, hospitality, lifestyle, industrial, retail and workplace markets.

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