HVAC filtration for controlling infectious airborne disease transmission in indoor environments: Predicting risk reductions and operational costs

by ParhamAzimi & BrentStephens, December 2013

This work describes and applies a methodology for estimating the impact of recirculating heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) particle filters on the control of size-resolved infectious aerosols in indoor environments using a modified version of the Wells-Riley model for predicting risks of infectious disease transmission. Estimates of risk reductions and associated operational costs of both HVAC filtration and equivalent outdoor air ventilation are modeled and compared using a case study of airborne transmission of influenza in a hypothetical office space. Overall, recirculating HVAC filtration was predicted to achieve risk reductions at lower costs of operation than equivalent levels of outdoor air ventilation, particularly for MERV 13–16 filters. Medium efficiency filtration products (MERV 7–11) are also inexpensive to operate but appear less effective in reducing infectious disease risks.

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