Campus building HVAC assessment update

Throughout the summer, the Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services (OVCAS) team of plant operating engineers, mechanical engineers, controls engineers, industrial hygienists, and specialized technicians has been busy conducting comprehensive assessments of the ventilation systems in campus buildings. These assessments followed the COVID-19 safety guidance for building operating procedures issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which are based on standards by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

In total, the team evaluated the Heating, Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC) systems in 88 buildings on the Chicago campus and 10 buildings at UIC’s regional campuses.  Information on the assessment process and results by building can be found at https://fmweb.uic.edu/FMGeneralPages/Home/VentilationAssessment. Detailed building reports are being uploaded as they are completed and will be available by August 16, 2021.

OVCAS’s Environmental, Health, and Safety Office (EHSO) will be conducting periodic indoor air quality analysis (IAQ) throughout the fall semester. Air quality investigations are only conducted when spaces are occupied because meaningful assumptions about ventilation rates based on CO2 values require the area to be occupied long enough to allow the CO2 levels to reach a balance with the ventilation rate. Buildings with a good ventilation rate and mixing of the outside air will prevent CO2 from accumulating much beyond outdoor levels, resulting in CO2 concentrations throughout the day below the ASHRAE standard.

“With the ongoing work that our engineering teams have been doing in consultation with outside consultants throughout the pandemic, we are confident that the spaces in campus buildings will meet current CDC and ASHRAE COVID-19 guidance and be ready for the fall semester,” said John Coronado, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services.

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