Safety updates for UTA building ventilation

Facilities team has updated safety practices to mitigate COVID-19 risks

Wednesday, Jul 01, 2020 • Elizabeth Couch :

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*Updated: January 2021

The Office of Facilities Management at The University of Texas at Arlington has updated its safety practices in operating building ventilation systems to mitigate the risks of COVID-19.

The team is:

  • Ensuring ventilation and filtering systems are operating properly,
  • Ensuring the systems control relative humidity,
  • Increasing the amount of outdoor air through campus buildings,
  • Changing air filters over the semester breaks.

“Social distancing, surface disinfection and good hygiene are far more important than anything related to the HVAC system,” said Donald Lange, assistant vice president for facilities management and campus operations. “Regardless, we have taken extra steps to ensure our ventilation systems provide the cleanest and healthiest air possible as an added step of protection. We are doing so by using a combination of existing equipment and updated safety practices.”

UTA is following guidelines recommended by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers to help address concerns related to COVID-19, Lange said. Those include:

  • Increasing the use of outdoor air in ventilation systems wherever possible. This proportionally reduces the amount of recirculated air.
  • Ensuring that ventilation systems in labs use 100% outside air and do not recirculate air to other spaces.
  • Using the highest compatible Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value filters in existing ventilation units.
  • Keeping ventilation systems running continuously.

“We want the UTA community to feel at ease knowing that we are doing everything we can to provide the highest quality air supply,” said Robb Chock, facilities engineer. “We continue to seek the most updated recommendations and practices from leading experts to inform our operational decisions.”

Check the Coronavirus Information page for up-to-date information on campus operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.