How do I know my lab has appropriate ventilation and air circulation?

The majority of Brown’s research and lab spaces operate with 100% outside air supply for building ventilation and have air exchange rates that meet or exceed American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards.

What measures related to COVID-19 prevention has Brown taken for HVAC systems in research facilities?

The majority of Brown University’s research and laboratory spaces operate with 100% outside air supply, with air exchange rates that meet or exceed American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards relative to COVID-19 Guidance. Brown FM has taken the following measures:

  • Specific building narratives have been developed. These narratives are available on FM’s website.
  • Performs regular preventive maintenance and evaluates filtration requirements to reduce airborne transmission and inspects filters to ensure they are within service life and appropriately installed. Ensures ventilation systems operate properly as designed.
  • Increased air handling system run times to enhance air filtration. Keeps systems running longer hours, 24/7 if possible, to enhance air exchanges in the building space.
  • Improved central air filtration to MERV-13 or the higher filter rating compatible with the filter rack, and inspect and prevent air leakage around filter edges.

What measures related to COVID-19 prevention has Brown taken for HVAC Systems in non-research facilities?

Brown University academic, administrative and classroom spaces operate with a variety of mixed air ventilation systems. Most of these systems are intended to provide comfort control only. Brown FM has taken the following measures:

  • Performs regular preventive maintenance and evaluates filtration requirements to reduce airborne transmission and inspects filters to ensure they are within service life and appropriately installed. Ensures ventilation systems operate properly as designed.
  • An assessment has been performed on all building systems and a matrix has been developed identifying the configuration of each system. This matrix is available on FM’s website.
  • Run times for air handling systems (where available) have been increased to enhance air filtration.
  • Demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) where applicable, have been disabled and increased outdoor air ventilation minimum settings where applicable. This increases the level of fresh outdoor air introduced.

What measures related to COVID-19 prevention has Brown taken for Water Systems in buildings to reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water?

FM staff is performing the following on a periodic basis:

  • Flushing of domestic water lines to include:
    • Sinks, toilets, showers, traps, and seals
  • Flushing of drinking water fountains and hydration stations
  • Continue with Brown’s water treatment program for mechanical systems

What is the state of air filtration in my building?

FM is in the process of assessing each building system.  Every building has some form of air filtration based upon building design (mechanical system or operable windows).  Additional information on your building system can be found on FM’s website. If you do not find your building listed, please contact the FM Service Response Center at extension 3-7800.

Does my building HVAC system have outside air ventilation?

FM has assessed each building's HVAC system.  Every building has outside air ventilation as required and based on building design.  Ventilation, dependent upon design, can be either mechanical or non-mechanical.  Additional information on your building system can found on FM’s website.

Is there a plan for replacing filters on a regular basis?

Yes, FM performs regular filter changes and inspects filters to ensure that they are clean and properly installed. . 

How can I know that my filters are being changed?

FM performs regular filter changes and inspects filters to ensure that they are clean and properly installed.  If you would like additional information, please contact the FM Service Response Center at 401-863-7800.

How do I know the building systems are being maintained?

The FM preventive maintenance program is considered “best in class” and recognized by APPA.  FM performs regular preventive maintenance to ensure HVAC building systems operate properly as designed.   FM maintains complete records of all systems and their components in the PM program.  FM maintains over 23,000 pieces of equipment. 

Is Brown University adding ultra-violet lighting to HVAC systems?

At this time, FM is evaluating the feasibility of adding ultra-violet lighting to building systems and spaces. The addition of UV lighting may not be possible based on size and building system design.

Does my HVAC system operate 24/7?

Most current energy efficiency programs require unoccupied spaces to have reduced air flow.  In response to COVID-19 guidance, FM has assessed each building HVAC system and has made modifications to the occupancy schedule to allow more frequent air exchanges.   Additional information on your building system can found on FM’s website.

Is the air coming into my office clean when my vents appear to have buildup of dirt?

If you have ceiling or wall registers in your office, the air coming into your building is being filtered twice at the air handling unit.  What you see is dust particles no different what you may see on the surfaces of your office furniture.  If this build up is of concern to you, please call FM Service Response at 401-863-7800 so a work order can be created and assigned to FM staff.

Should I open my windows for ventilation?

Per CDC guidelines, “Do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk”. If you have a central HVAC system, please do not open your windows.  If your building does not have a centralized HVAC system, you may open windows to increase outdoor air.

Should I open my windows with the air conditioning running?

No, do not open your windows with air conditioning running as it will have a negative impact on environmental comfort. If your building does not have a centralized HVAC system, you may open windows to increase outdoor air.

If I have questions about my HVAC system, who should I reach out to?

Information regarding your HVAC systems is available on FM’s website.  If you have additional questions, please call FM Service Response at 401-863-7800, and they will direct your question to the appropriate person.

What if I have a cooling or heating issue in my building?

Please report any cooling or heating issues to FM Service Response at 401-863-7800 so a work order can be created and assigned to FM staff.

What steps is FM taking to ensure my building is not impacted by water while we are working remotely?

FM staff are performing daily rounds inspecting building common areas, mechanical spaces and other locations with a history of water intrusion issues.   Buildings equipped with floor level water sensors and humidity sensors (where applicable) are being monitored via FM’s building automation systems and serve as an early warning for FM staff to respond to water intrusion.  

Are thermostats being cleaned as part of the high touch point cleaning surfaces schedule?

The cleaning of thermostats is part of the DIY program.  FM suggests that you wipe the thermostat with a disinfectant wipe prior to adjusting to desired temperature each time. 

 

Revised: July 9, 2020