May 18, 2023

ASHRAE Completes Draft Standard on Controls for Infectious Aerosols

On May 15, ASHRAE announced it had completed its first draft of ASHRAE Standard 241P, Control of Infectious Aerosols. According to the organization’s press release, Standard 241P will ensure healthy indoor air quality by establishing minimum requirements for measures related to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, influenza, and other airborne diseases. ASHRAE will accept public comments on portions of the standard through May 26 and expects to publish the approved standard in July.

The standard outlines minimum requirements for equivalent outdoor air, room air distribution, filter and air cleaner effectiveness and safety, development of building readiness plans to document engineering and non-engineering controls, system operation during periods of high risk, maintenance tasks, and use of controls in residential buildings and healthcare facilities. The scope of the draft document encompasses requirements for ventilation, filtration, and air-cleaning systems for reducing long-range transmission of infectious aerosols between occupants in all buildings.

Farooq Mehboob, president of ASHRAE, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of IAQ and ventilation in protecting people from the spread of pathogens, yet the draft standard is relatively unprecedented. “Nowhere in the world do we have a standard that universally addresses the concept of mitigating pathogen spread and IAQ,” Mehboob said.

Standard 241P is not being developed under rules approved by the American National Standards Institute “as there is a need to make it available for public use as soon as possible,” the draft document explains. ASHRAE had set a goal to finalize the standard within six months when the organization announced the project in December 2022. According to William Bahnfleth, PhD, PE, the chair of Standard Project Committee 241P, the draft standard was produced in only 10 weeks.

“We look forward to the public’s comments as we work to complete the final version of the standard for publication,” Bahnfleth added.

More information may be found in ASHRAE’s press release. A PDF of the draft standard is available on ASHRAE’s website, in the “Public Review Draft Standards” section, under the subheading “14-Day Public Review Period from May 12, 2023, to May 26, 2023.” Users must log in to submit comments.