Canadian Consulting Engineer

ASHRAE responds to COVID-19 with new epidemic task force

April 2, 2020  By CCE


Image courtesy ASHRAE.

In an effort to respond to the current global COVID-19 pandemic and provide guidance for preparing the built environment for future epidemics, ASHRAE has established a new epidemic task force.

The group-within-a-society will help deploy technical resources to address current and future challenges relating to the effects of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems on the transmission of diseases within health-care facilities, workplaces, public and recreational environments and homes. It will also provide recommendations for dealing with surges in infections by setting up temporary field hospitals in convention centres, arenas and stadiums.

“Our members and chapters are addressing COVID-19,” says task force chair William Bahnfleth, Ph.D., P.E. “That is also true of our technical and standards committees. When called upon by circumstances to assist in situations such as the pandemic, they act within their spheres of competence to do whatever they can to help.”

The task force will communicate with ASHRAE members, industry partners, building owners, facility operators, government agencies and the general public, review technical questions and requests for guidance, co-ordinate internal activities, work with external organizations and publish information summaries as relevant to the built environment.


Besides Bahnfleth, voting members include:

  • Max Sherman, Ph.D., ASHRAE Environmental Health Committee.
  • Luke Leung, P.E., ASHRAE Environmental Health Committee.
  • Stephanie Taylor, M.D., ASHRAE Environmental Health Committee.
  • Jason DeGraw, Ph.D., ASHRAE Technical Committee 2.10, Resilience and Security.
  • Traci Hanegan, P.E., ASHRAE Technical Committee 9.6, Healthcare Facilities.
  • Steve Martin, Ph.D., P.E., National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  • Richard Hermans, P.E., ASHRAE Standing Standard Project Committee 170, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities.
  • James Ridenhour, P.E., Consultant.


Corresponding/non-voting members include:

  • Walid Chakroun, Ph.D., ASHRAE Government Affairs Committee.
  • Wade Conlan, P.E., ASHRAE Environmental Health Committee.
  • Dennis Knight, P.E., ASHRAE Board of Directors.
  • Jay Kohler, P.E., chair, ASHRAE Technical Activities Committee.
  • Wayne Stoppelmoor, CEM, chair, ASHRAE Standards Committee.


Also, experts in medicine and public health will serve as consultants. For more information, visit

Print this page

Related Stories

1 Comment » for ASHRAE responds to COVID-19 with new epidemic task force
  1. Don McLaughlin says:

    About twelve years ago I was the mechanical consultant for a small medical clinic that was to be built on Gabriola Island where I lived at the time. I had past experience with deigning HVAC systems for this type of occupancy where there was concern about the spread of highly contagious diseases between public spaces and between exam rooms. I zoned all the exam rooms as a single zone that had all return air exhausted by a HRV unit to the outside. The HRV unit brought outside fresh air, passed it through a heat pump fan coil and supplied conditioned 100% fresh air to each of the exam rooms. The waiting room had it’s own HVAC unit that only served that area and the adjacent public washrooms. The receptionist desk projected slightly into the waiting room but was separated somewhat by the surrounding desk and a slight bulkhead above. Supply air for the receptionists came from an overhead grille connected to the primarily non medical interior zone that had a fresh air intake. This produced a slight general air flow from the central zone, through the receptionist area and into the waiting room and out through the washroom exhaust system. My question is, is there a high output UV unit in the market that could be installed in the waiting room’s fan coil unit that would sterilize the return air?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *