2022-07-09-08 Meghan McNulty on Indoor Air Quality

Meghan McNulty (@MeghanMcNulty1): NO: “The problem is that retrofitting indoor public spaces like offices, schools, restaurants, and theaters with proper air ventilation is incredibly expensive and not very feasible.”

Most buildings already have equipment for proper ventilation. The real problem? 1/ https://twitter.com/JohnsHopkinsSPH/status/1544308866988625920

The real problem is that these systems are often not working right.

Why? Stuff breaks. Settings changed. Deferred maintenance. Facility mgr isn’t up-to-date on IAQ knowledge. No one is in charge of HVAC. People assume it works without checking. 2/

How to fix? Knowledge about indoor air quality and how the ventilation system should work.

Be an informed consumer with free resources from ASHRAE, EPA, USGBC, others. #IAQtwitter

Hire an engineer or HVAC expert. 3/ https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2022-03/508-cleanairbuildings_factsheet_v5_508.pdf

Ventilation equipment needs ongoing maintenance. Get your service provider out. Ask about ventilation. Was outdoor airflow measured? Does it meet requirements in ASHRAE 62.1-2019? Get numbers!

Not "incredibly expensive"? Has some cost, like all things. 4/

"not very feasible"? Regularly checking ventilation should be part of normal operations.

Better ventilation is often achievable with the systems we have, without breaking the bank.

Let's not create false barriers to action. /5

The rest of the @JohnsHopkinsSPH video on addressing airborne transmission is great, though!

I just want to make sure we aren't eliminating the great tool of better ventilation from the toolbox because of misperceptions!

@JohnsHopkinsSPH Additions: yes, there are buildings with significant investment needs just to meet the minimum standard. There's a lot that can be done above the minimum for IAQ and infct ctrl, across spectrum of cost and complexity. HVAC equip lasts ~20ish years, so replacement is inevitable.

@JohnsHopkinsSPH The disconnect between who is responsible for investment (owners) and who is impacted by inaction (people in the building) means we need some public policy action. Little regulation of a building once it's built beyond fire safety and elevators. Should add IAQ to that list.

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