Biden Administration Launches Effort to Improve Ventilation and Reduce the Spread of COVID-⁠19 in Buildings

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Earlier this month, the Biden-Harris Administration released the National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, a roadmap to move the country forward safely and continue to fight COVID-19 as Americans get back to their more normal routines.  Today the Administration is launching the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, a key component of the President’s Plan, that calls on all building owners and operators, schools, colleges and universities, and organizations of all kinds to adopt key strategies to improve indoor air quality in their buildings and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The Clean Air in Buildings Challenge is a call to action for leaders and building owners and operators of all types to assess their indoor air quality and make ventilation and air filtration improvements to help keep occupants safe. As part of the Challenge, today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a best practices guide for improving indoor air quality and reducing the risk of spreading dangerous airborne particles. This guide – developed in collaboration with the Department of Energy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other federal agencies – contains a set of clear recommendations organized into four groups:

  1. Create a clean indoor air action plan that assesses indoor air quality, plans for upgrades and improvements, and includes HVAC inspections and maintenance.
  2. Optimize fresh air ventilation by bringing in and circulating clean outdoor air indoors.
  3. Enhance air filtration and cleaning using the central HVAC system and in-room air-cleaning devices.
  4. Engage the building community by communicating with building occupants to increase awareness, commitment, and participation.

Under each of these recommendation areas, EPA’s best practices guide lays out clear-cut actions building owners and operators can implement. The best practices guide is designed to serve as a menu of improvements to choose from. The guide includes quick steps that all organizations can take right away as a starting place, as well as resources to help plan for longer-term investments and improvements.