Epidemic and disaster preparedness of buildings and systems is a key area of concern. The study of how building ventilation and airtightness may contribute to disaster preparedness may lead to better guidelines for design and operation of ventilation systems for exceptional hazardous conditions, including hazards related to infectious aerosols. During the COVID-19 pandemic it has become clear that most buildings are not designed and not able to be operated to sufficiently manage infection risk of airborne pathogens.

Disaster preparedness consists of a set of measures undertaken in advance to better respond to the occurrence of disasters. Disaster preparedness plays an important role in creating resilient buildings.

In relation to airborne infection risk, societies like ASHRAE and REHVA have developed guidelines during and after the pandemic to mitigate risk of Covid-19 transmission. Recently ASHRAE published Standard 241-2023, Control of Infectious Aerosols, establishing minimum requirements aimed at reducing the risk of disease transmission through exposure to infectious aerosols in buildings. The standard encompasses a wide range of requirements covering air system design, installation, operation, and maintenance to create a building operating mode when increased protection from infectious aerosol exposure is needed. However, there is still a need to develop examples of the application of the standard to specific case studies.

Furthermore, in order to broaden the scope of epidemic preparedness to disaster preparedness of building ventilation in general, including hazards such as wildfires and heat waves, it is necessary to develop relevant design metrics, and the methodological framework to define and quantify hazards, and resilience in ventilation performance.

This project aims to:

  • Develop resilience indicators to define and quantify resilience in ventilation performance towards hazardous events
  • Develop guidelines to design building ventilation for epidemic preparedness, illustrated with case studies, based on requirements of ASHRAE Standard 241-2023