COVID Recovery: Building Filtration & Ventilation

COVID Recovery: Building Filtration & Ventilation

In preparation for the return to higher occupancy levels on campus, Facilities Management has been hard at work to ensure that indoor environments are clean and safe.  

Facilities Management continues to review and implement the latest recommendations made by ASHRAE, CDC and other industry leaders and is actively piloting and evaluating new technologies and products that promote indoor air quality.  Facilities Management is also exploring how these efforts may both support and be supported by research efforts being conducted and considered on campus.

It is important to understand that no improvement to Indoor Air Quality is a replacement for good personal practices including social distancing, wearing a mask and washing one’s hands. 

MAINTENANCE: Efforts include the evaluation and preventive maintenance of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in each building so they may provide a high degree of indoor air quality.  Each building’s system is unique but in general, we are ensuring these systems are operating at their peak condition and in conformance with campus and Board of Regents standards, as well as industry best practices.

FILTRATION & ULTRAVIOLET GERMICIDAL IRRADIATION: Georgia Tech’s design and construction campus standards currently require central station air handling equipment to utilize MERV 13 filters and UV lights for all new construction and major renovations.  Filters in older buildings are being upgraded to MERV 13 where the HVAC equipment allows. Facilities has inventoried the air handling equipment in ALL buildings to ensure that filters are clean and UV lights operational.

VENTILATION: Ventilation rate is the rate that fresh air flows into a space. Facilities Management is evaluating the ventilation rates and ability to modify these rates throughout campus. Where possible, ventilation rates will be increased ahead of the fall semester. All building central air handling equipment will operate 24/7.

PORTABLE MEASURES:  Facilities Management in collaboration with professors from the Colleges of Sciences and Engineering determined portable air purifiers a reliable mitigation measure.  Ahead of the August 23 start of classroom instruction, more than 200 air purifiers will be installed in centrally and departmentally scheduled classrooms.  The air purifiers or "scrubbers" improve air quality by decreasing particle number and particle volume concentrations within a single room. The BreathSmart 75i HEPA Air Purifier, manufactured by Alen, uses an ozone-safe ionizer to attract particulate in the air.  This particulate is then captured in the HEPA filter thereby reducing the level of bacteria, allergens and virus in the air. BreathSmart 75i HEPA Air Purifier User Manual.

LABORATORIES:  Per BOR standards laboratories provide a minimum air change rate of 6 air changes per hour when occupied. Laboratory ventilation systems have and will continue to operate 24/7. The use of UV lights, continued operation of the HVAC systems and air change rate of 6 per hour are all consistent with the American Society for Heating and Ventilation Engineer’s (ASHRAE) recently published Position Document on Infectious Aerosols.


  • While Vendors and Contractors are on Georgia Institute of Technology campus working within our facilities, current Georgia State Issued guidance should be followed.  Please refer to this link for more detailed information.