Building Well Whitepaper

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the normalcy of daily life has been upended, it is safe to expect that even when social activity resumes, “normal” experiences and interactions will be altered for years to come, if not permanently. Similarly, the hyper-focus on health and wellness of the past several months will undoubtedly impact all spheres of society long-term, including environmental design and the design of building systems. Buildings will take on new standards for promoting the health of their occupants and will be equipped with MEP/T system applications designed to help mitigate the spread of communicable disease.

Consulting engineers must take the lead in bringing cost-effective solutions to building owners and operators to ensure mechanical ventilation systems have the capacity and performance to make them safe, energy efficient, and able to guard against the indoor conditions that lead to the growth and spread of all infectious agents.

Mark Madorsky, PE LEAF Engineers

As schools, offices, stores, and other public venues prepare to reopen, the concerns over public health for the future will surely cause institutions to refresh some of the design measures that enhance wellness already in practice as well as considering new, more stringent building systems that will deliver higher performance to enhance indoor air quality. Public spaces and the building systems supporting those spaces will be expected to provide safe environment conditions that are consistent with Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. As social distancing and other measures are taken to mitigate airborne disease in public learning environments, the building systems will need to adjust with the times as fundamental changes occur to meet healthy environment expectations. LEAF Engineers has developed this document to provide evidencebased MEP building system engineering design, operations, and maintenance strategies to help in the fight against respiratory infections, including COVID-19. Indoor environmental conditions, especially those directly affected by mechanical ventilation, are extremely critical considerations in the construction of facilities that promote health and well-being. Air quality monitoring and awareness are two other key factors that provide invaluable insight to building owners and operators. With special attention to HVAC systems along with application of other technologies, such as virus fighting lighting systems, surface disinfectants, and effective hand-washing facilities, the resilience of buildings against the spread of disease-causing contaminants can be drastically improved.

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