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ASHRAE and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during July, formalizing a strategic partnership.

The agreement reflects spiking interest in indoor air quality (IAQ) in light of the current pandemic, and also the catalytic effect of our troubled times on growing determination to build back better with decarbonized, energy efficient buildings.

The MoU defines parameters on how NYSERDA and ASHRAE will develop and provide safe building occupancy guidelines following the spread of COVID-19, including building readiness and reopening guidance, sustainable development practices and associated training. The two organizations will also work cooperatively to improve the design and application of efficient and low carbon heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration technologies and their application in New York State.

“ASHRAE has taken a leadership role in providing technical resources to help protect the health and safety of building occupants as we start the transition into a post-COVID-19 environment,” said 2020-21 ASHRAE President Charles E. Gulledge III, P.E. “Our partnership with NYSERDA will leverage the collective strength of both organizations as we implement innovative energy management and indoor air quality practices to address today’s building challenges.”

Doreen M. Harris, Acting President and CEO, NYSERDA said, “New York is building back better under Governor Cuomo’s unwavering leadership by advancing a framework to address some of society’s most pressing health and climate issues. Through this groundbreaking partnership with ASHRAE, we will advance statewide change with cost-effective and energy efficient solutions while reducing the overall carbon footprint of New York’s building stock and prioritizing human health and safe indoor air quality.”

New York state has been making unparalleled investments in training and incentives to decarbonize buildings using air source and ground source heat pump systems. Many of the buildings using these systems also employ dedicated outdoor air systems (DOAS), thus addressing carbon, energy and IAQ simultaneously. Meanwhile ASHRE has formed a task force of leading experts on COVID-19, other airborne viruses, and ventilation strategies to mitigate their spread.

The MoU includes:

  • The development and/or utilization of existing research, resources, guidance manuals, training and best practices on minimizing airborne pathogen exposure through improved indoor air quality, ventilation and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation for buildings to enable safe reopening and operation.
  • The development of job/task specific contractor and building safety guidelines to minimize airborne pathogen exposure.
  • The development of guidance documents on carbon neutral buildings, building electrification, carbon emission load calculations and clean geothermal district systems.
  • The development and/or delivery of new or existing ASHRAE professional training on the application of codes, standards, guidance documents, manuals and tools.

For extensive resources and strategies on safe building reopening, visit ASHRAE’s COVID-19 Resources at ashrae.org/COVID19.