COVID-19 Ventilation Measures

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Western has implemented a comprehensive approach to reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission on its campus.

In preparation for this fall, Western is taking extra steps to ensure ventilation systems are maintained and optimized to maximize health and safety.

We want our students, faculty and staff to breathe easier knowing that we are meeting or exceeding industry recommendations for ventilation in our buildings and classrooms. The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) has not flagged our ventilation systems as a concern for COVID-19 transmission, and the steps being taken are precautionary as there have been no known cases of COVID-19 transmission through building ventilation systems on campus. Based on recommendations from the Epidemic Task Force of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Western is working hard to clear the air in the following ways. 

 

Public Health Guidance

Follow Public Health Guidance

By taking direction from the MLHU, Western continues to follow public health guidelines and employ best practices relating to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Learn more about Western’s diligent approach and guidance for our campus community. 

Ventilation, Filtration, Air

Ventilation, Filtration, Air Cleaning

Western’s ventilation systems are designed in accordance with ASHRAE standards as part of the requirements of the Ontario Building Code. Systems are tested, adjusted and balanced to the satisfaction of the engineers who designed them and Western’s Facilities Management team. To ensure these systems are in good working order, licensed trade staff complete regular maintenance and consistent monitoring using Western Environmental System (WES), a direct digital control building automation system. 

Western uses a variety of filters in our air handling units.  In areas with a higher potential for aerosolization of particles, MERV 13 filters have been installed where they can be physically accommodated. By adjusting HVAC controls, more fresh air is being brought through our spaces to increase air exchanges. Additionally, in places like practice rooms in the Don Wright Faculty of Music building, cardio labs and clinics and Health Services patient examination rooms, air purifiers have been and continue to be added to further improve air quality. 

Air distribution

Air Distribution

Western’s air distribution ductwork has multiple air vents in rooms designed to accommodate multiple people. This configuration promotes air mixing without creating a strong, directional airflow. 

HVAC operation

HVAC System Operation

Using Western Environmental System (WES), the Facilities Management team monitors and controls the HVAC systems around the clock and are alerted if conditions change. 

Western’s HVAC systems are now scheduled to operate an extra two hours before and after occupancy to flush the facilities and are designed to only allow clean air to enter our facilities. 

System commissioning

System Commissioning

Facilities Management continuously performs preventative maintenance on the HVAC systems to keep them in good working order, ensuring that they are operating to their full capacity. 

Maintenance and operation of HVAC systems in all of our spaces is crucial, but even more so in our larger classrooms. Western has completed a comprehensive assessment of the ventilation in classrooms on campus by bringing in an external consultant to independently assess the airflow. Read the classroom-by-classroom analysis and learn how the ventilation meets or most often exceeds the designed ventilation for the spaces. 


Resources

Western Facilities Management COVID-19 Related HVAC Measures 

Read the full report disclosing Western’s current operation activities and how supplementary actions have been introduced to prepare our facilities for fall.

ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Guidance Paper 

From ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force, read the Core Recommendations for Reducing Airborne Infectious Aerosol Exposure guidance paper published in January 2021.