In this post, we are taking a closer look at a Fitwel Viral Response prerequisite (called a mandatory requirement in Fitwel) addressing air quality.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close person-to-person contact. However, there is still some uncertainty about the importance of different routes of transmission, and there is growing evidence that COVID-19 can remain airborne for longer times and further distances than originally thought.

So it’s important for any COVID-readiness strategy to address air quality.

The Fitwel Viral Response Module’s Enhanced Indoor Air Quality prerequisite requires a rigorous IAQ policy that emphasizes source control. Fitwel argues that by managing pollutant and moisture sources, building operators can minimize the pollutants that accumulate in the air in the first place.

The mandatory requirement also requires the assessment and enhancement of ventilation to exceed ASHRAE ANSI Standard 62.1-2019 by 30% for commercial buildings and filtration enhancements including MERV 13 filters alternative options are available for buildings unable to comply with these strategies.)

After closures of 2 weeks or more or reduced occupancy, the building should be assessed for mold, excess moisture, and legionella. To comply with the prerequisite, a regular inspection schedule should be developed for the HVAC system to ensure indoor air quality after a closure.

While everyone is working from home, this can be the perfect time to remodel or enhance commercial spaces. The Fitwel Viral Response air quality mandatory requirement also includes requirements for the selection of building materials with low emissions and implementation of an indoor air quality plan during construction activity.

There are two key considerations regarding air quality that building operators need to keep in mind for Fitwel Viral Response prerequisite compliance.

  • Buildings must exceed outside air requirements from ASHRAE ANSI Standard 62.1-2019 (commercial buildings) or 62.2-2019 (residential buildings) by 30%. If that is not feasible, there are other options for compliance such as maintaining minimum ventilation levels for the Area Outdoor Air Rate or Combined Outdoor Air Rate.
  • Buildings must use enhanced filtration methods. The primary compliance path is to use MERV 13 filters throughout the building. If that is not possible, either UV lighting technology or mobile filtration units are required.

Our team is working with portfolio owners to establish portfolio-wide strategies to deal with COVID (including pursuing Fitwel Viral Response Module certification.) In future posts, we’ll take closer looks at the WELL Health Safety Rating and other requirements for the Fitwel Viral Response. If you have any questions about these or other wellness-related rating systems, contact us.

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