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The following Seattle Times article by Geoff Baker features an interesting and relevant conversation about indoor air quality and HVAC system solutions to minimize virus presence and spread within buildings. NEEC member businesses Trane, MacDonald Miller and McKinstry are all mentioned for their expertise on the topic.

Service technician Laura Stogin performs routine maintenance on an HVAC system. (MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions)

Greg Smith had little time to spare when studies began suggesting the novel coronavirus can spread through shared air within buildings.

As a facilities management director for the King County Library System, Smith overseas the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in about four dozen buildings currently closed to non-staffers. He contacted the county’s HVAC maintenance contractor and they tested each of the systems — the oldest about 15 years — to ensure maximum air flow and filtration before library visitors are allowed back in.

“The news changes every day on this stuff,” Smith said. “What’s good. What’s bad. What people recommend and what scientists have said. So, yeah, we’re tracking it pretty closely.”

The coronavirus pandemic has challenged an HVAC industry suddenly asked to help ensure the air in offices, stores and other buildings is safe for occupants.

Given the cost of completely replacing HVAC systems can run $100,000 to $500,000 for smaller buildings and into the millions for bigger ones, specialists are instead finding creative ways of improving what’s already there.

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