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To address the current pandemic and future epidemics ASHRAE has established an Epidemic Task Force to support the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning industry. The team will provide guidance on how to ensure that buildings are prepared for future epidemics and help prevent disease transmission in healthcare facilities, the workplace, home, public and recreational environments. It will also provide recommendations for setting up temporary field hospitals in convention centers, arenas, and indoor stadia to deal with surges.

The primary role of the task force is to maintain communication with members, industry partners, building owners, facility operators, government agencies and the general public.

Its' specific responsibilities will include:

  • Serving as a clearinghouse to review all technical questions and requests for technical guidance submitted to ASHRAE
  • Coordinating activities of ASHRAE’s internal resources
  • Partnering with and monitoring the activities of external organizations, including the more than 60 members of the ASHRAE Associate Society Alliance (AASA) of organizations related to the HVAC&R industry around the world
  • Reviewing, organizing, consolidating and publishing clear and concise summaries with citations of the most relevant information available to the built environment

The task force will be chaired by William Bahnfleth, 2013-14 ASHRAE Presidential Member. He will be joined by:

Voting Members:
William Bahnfleth, Ph.D., P.E., chair, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force
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, JR P.E. Retired

Corresponding/Nonvoting Members
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

“We have assembled an outstanding group of experts to serve on the task force,” said Bahnfleth. “They are high-level building professionals with collective experience in design, construction, operations, and research, who are well qualified to offer guidance on how to protect building occupants and support healthcare facility needs during the uncertainty of an epidemic.”

Members of ASHRAE’s Healthcare Facilities technical committee (TC 9.6) and ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2017 -- Ventilation of Health Care Facilities committee have been working with members of the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) to produce guidance that can be implemented immediately to help hospitals and clinics cope with the increasing volume of COVID-19 cases. Standard 170 already has had an impact by providing guidance for the design of existing infection isolation, intensive care and critical care rooms in countries that have been most severely affected by this virus.

A presentation has been prepared and is being presented to various groups and organizations, including ASHRAE chapters. The presentation includes guidance on how to create additional observation/segregation rooms for a small-scale admission surge as well as the establishment of wards/suites for a large-scale surge.

Questions and requests for technical guidance and interpretations should be submitted to the following email address:  COVID-19@ashrae.org. For more information on the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force including resources and updates, visit the ASHRAE COVID-19 Preparedness Resources webpage at ashrae.org/COVID19.