ATLANTA — ASHRAE announced a Society-wide effort to respond to the current global COVID-19 pandemic and provide guidance on how to ensure that buildings are prepared for future epidemics.

The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has been established to help deploy ASHRAE’s technical resources to address the challenges of the current pandemic and future epidemics as it relates to the effects of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems on disease transmission in healthcare facilities, the workplace, home, public, and recreational environments. The task force will also provide recommendations for setting up temporary field hospitals in convention centers, arenas, and indoor stadia to deal with surges.

The primary role of the task force is to maintain communication with members, industry partners, building owners, facility operators, government agencies, and the general public.

2013-14 ASHRAE Presidential Member William Bahnfleth, Ph.D., P.E., will chair the task force.

“We have assembled an outstanding group of experts to serve on the task force,” said Bahnfleth. “They are high-level building professionals with collective experience in design, construction, operations, and research, who are well qualified to offer guidance on how to protect building occupants and support healthcare facility needs during the uncertainty of an epidemic.”

Leading experts in medicine and public health will serve as consultants to the task force. 

“ASHRAE is a global, grassroots organization of more than 57,000 members in 130 countries, so we have boots on the ground around the world,” said Bahnfleth. “Our members and chapters take the initiative to help wherever they are and are already addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. That is also true of our technical and standards committees. When called upon by circumstances to assist in situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic, they act within their spheres of competence to do whatever they can to help.”

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