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COVID-19

BGE is (and will remain) Open For Business

At BGE, our mission is to: deliver clean, healthy indoor air environmentsAt this important time, BGE has been deemed an essential service in all provinces where we operate as well as by many of our largest commercial and industrial customers.  Accordingly, we are taking precautions to ensure our doors stay open, our warehouses remain stocked, and our people keep working. For more information on how we’re doing this, please download our COVID-19 business continuity statement: BGE Open For Business.

 

Our Commitment to Information-Sharing on this Page

At BGE, we are experts and leaders in our industry and we understand air filtration and indoor air quality better than most. At these times when people need information and are concerned about human health and the spread of infectious disease, we’ve assembled on this page some important information and resources the help professional facility managers maintain clean, healthy indoor air. We are committed to keeping this area of our website updated with the latest information as it becomes available.

Important Disclaimer

In just the past several weeks, significant new information and studies have been released that suggest the SARS-CoV-2 virus is potentially more airborne than originally thought. However, there is still conflicting information and, in some cases, disagreement within the global scientific community about the true airborne nature of this virus.

As such, our approach is to present you with the latest information on this page and highlight the scientific uncertainties and/or disagreements. While we are here to help educate and advise our customers, we urge everyone to spend adequate time reviewing all the information on this page so that you can make the most informed decisions about any precautions you may wish to take in your facilities to protect occupants.

SARS-CoV-2: Airborne transmission, HVAC, and Filtration

At BGE, we are Clean Air Experts. Our highly experienced professionals have been working tirelessly to study the latest information, science, and standards related to indoor air quality, HVAC systems, and airborne particulate (including viruses) as it relates to the SARS-CoV-2  virus. Here is what we know:  
  • The novel coronavirus SARS-COV-2 transmits via liquid droplets that are expelled when an infected person (the ‘primary host’ of the virus) sneezes, coughs, or talks.  
  • These liquid droplets vary in size. The larger, heavier droplets fall quickly in the air while the smaller droplets called aerosols can form clusters or ‘clouds’ that can stay suspended in the air for a very long period of time:
How viruses are transmitted through aerosol particles
  • Virus concentration and transmission is highest in the larger droplets that fall quickly to the floor or nearby surfaces, which is why the greatest risk of transmission is when an uninfected person touches that surface and then touches their face.
  • However, it has now also been proven that the virus may transmit in certain circumstances via the smaller aerosols.
  • The aerosol clouds may float around poorly-ventilated rooms with low air movement then can transmit the virus to secondary hosts (other people) in the room:
Micro droplet aerosol clouds in poorly ventilated rooms
  • Decreasing the exposure of the airborne infectious aerosols to secondary hosts is an important step in stopping the spread.
  • HVAC systems and filtration, including air-cleaning and local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems, can have a significant impact on the distribution of the infectious aerosols and therefore can decrease the risk of infection transmission.
  • COVID-19 (and other infectious diseases) can be controlled by dissipating the infectious aerosols, thus interrupting the airborne transmission routes of the pathogen.
  • Facilities and HVAC professionals therefore play a very important role in protecting building occupants by interrupting this indoor dissemination of infectious aerosols.

For more information, please download our full fact sheet that contains additional information, education, and the latest recommendations from scientists, engineers, and building professionals:

Additional sources for your own research

Our team believes in educating our customers about clean, healthy, indoor air. We also know many customers like to learn and research from other sources too.  Here’s some great information and sources we think you may find helpful:

How can HVAC systems and Filtration Help?

Most Canadian and American building codes follow guidelines for HVAC standards established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

The following statements have recently been released by ASHRAE regarding transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the operation of HVAC systems during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures.
  2. Ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems can reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and thus the risk of transmission through the air. Unconditioned spaces can cause thermal stress to people that may be directly life threatening and that may also lower resistance to infection. In general, disabling of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems is not a recommended measure to reduce the transmission of the virus.


Further to these statements, ASHRAE has published a full Position Document on Infectious Aerosols that includes a number of recommendations, including:


For Non-Healthcare Facilities

  • Increase outdoor air ventilation.
  • Improve central air and other HVAC filtration to MERV-13
    (ASHRAE 2017b) or the highest level achievable.
  • Keep systems running longer hours (24/7 if possible).
  • Add portable room air cleaners with HEPA or high-MERV filters with due consideration to the clean air delivery rate.
  • Add duct- or air-handling-unit-mounted, upper room, and/or portable UVGI devices in connection to in-room fans in high-density spaces such as waiting rooms, prisons, and shelters.
  • Maintain temperature and humidity as applicable to the infectious aerosol of concern.
  • Bypass energy recovery ventilation systems that leak potentially contaminated exhaust air back into the outdoor air supply.

 

For Healthcare Facilities (additional measures to those above)

  • Capture expiratory aerosols with headwall exhaust, tent or snorkel with exhaust, floor-to-ceiling partitions with door supply and patient exhaust, local air HEPA-grade filtration.
  • Exhaust toilets and bed pans (a must).
  • Maintain temperature and humidity as applicable to the infectious aerosol of concern.
  • Deliver clean air to caregivers.
  • Maintain negatively pressurized intensive care units (ICUs) where infectious aerosols may be present.
  • Maintain rooms with infectious aerosol concerns at negative pressure.
  • Provide 100% exhaust of patient rooms.
  • Use UVGI.
  • Increase the outdoor air change rate – e.g., increase patient rooms from 2 to 6 ach (air changes per hour).
  • Establish HVAC contributions to a patient room turnover plan before reoccupancy.


Please visit the ASHRAE site’s technical resources section here for the full position document, research, and specific recommendations.

We’re Here To Help

The BGE IAQ Services team is available to support you and your facilities by conducting Filtration System Integrity Surveys and our Critical Environment Services (CES) team is available for inspection and leak-testing of HEPA filters.


Please feel free to contact us at ces@bgecleanair.com to start the discussion. And thank you for being concerned.