EPA “Clean Air in Buildings Challenge”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, which is “a call to action and a set of guiding principles and best practices to assist building owners and operators with reducing risks from airborne viruses and other contaminants indoors.” The Clean Air in Buildings Challenge offers basic principles and general actions recommended to improve building indoor air quality (IAQ) and, consequently, occupant health.

The EPA released an accompanying document with information and links to assistance and tools. The document includes information that can help improve ventilation and other IAQ building enhancement steps to help reduce the risk of spreading infectious diseases like COVID-19, particles, aerosols, and other contaminants. 

The four key actions for the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge include:

1 – Create a Clean Indoor Air Action Plan

  • Understand and document your building’s HVAC systems and outdoor air intake and distribution
  • Have an expert assess and inspect your building’s HVAC systems 
  • Verify through commissioning (Cx), testing, adjusting, and balancing (TAB) that building systems are functioning as designed
  • Assess overall IAQ and implement improvement measures
  • Create an IAQ plan that includes regular inspections and maintenance
  • Support your building’s operators/staff with continuing education and training

2 – Optimize Fresh Air Ventilation

  • Verify outdoor air coming into your building is acceptably clean or adequately filtered
  • Properly use economizers (devices that supplement mechanical cooling with fresh air)
  • Run HVAC systems during all occupied hours
  • Verify exhaust fans in bathrooms are functioning
  • Increase volume of clean outdoor air at times of higher COVID-19 risk
  • Open operable windows when safe and permissible

3 – Enhance Air Filtration and Cleaning 

  • Install MERV-13 air filters (or the highest rated filters your HVAC system can handle)
  • Close off gaps around air filters
  • Use portable air cleaners
  • Increase ventilation/filtration in higher-risk areas
  • Consider an upper-room Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) system

4 – Conduct Community Engagement, Communication, and Education 

  • Communicate your steps to affected people
  • Display your work through building walkthroughs, signage, and other communication channels
  • Provide feedback mechanisms
  • Remember individual actions and layered prevention strategies are essential measures

EEI’s Cx experts can help!We have over 35 years of experience conducting and customizing facility assessments. Our Facility Health Assessments evaluate HVAC Systems for health and safety risks. We have also been conducting IAQ evaluations long before COVID-19 to reduce the spread of diseases and sick building syndrome. 

EEI focuses our assessments on a comprehensive understanding of buildings’ existing mechanical systems, determining transmission risk levels, and providing system improvement recommendations that will reduce transmission risk. Our assessments follow a science-based approach based on the advice of organizations such as ASHRAE, ASHE, IES, OSHA, and the CDC. 

For more information on EEI’s Facility Health Assessment services, please contact: 

info@eeieningeers.com | 800.606.8008 

Check out the link to learn more about the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/clean-air-buildings-challenge 

Skip to content