Building Ventilation

May 6, 2021

This information has been archived. Some or all of the information below is no longer accurate.

UMB is committed to minimizing COVID-19 risk for building users by regularly inspecting air handling
units, replacing filters, and ensuring that air handlers are functioning as designed. UMB also will continue
to monitor and react to federal, state, public health, and industry standard heating, ventilation, and air
conditioning (HVAC) guidelines to manage and mitigate risk where possible.

Due to the variety of different building types, ventilation systems, and facility controls being used, no
single set of guidelines can accommodate every individual building type or system across all UMB facilities.

In many cases, altering HVAC parameters (e.g., air flow, filter type, etc.) of existing ventilation systems
beyond designed capabilities can have detrimental effects on the overall health and comfort of a building.

Therefore, from a public and environmental health perspective, ventilation alterations should not be viewed
as a substitute for physical distancing and masks in the overall University environment.

Additional considerations for ventilation:

• Unless there are specific design needs for a facility (e.g., operatories), avoid overwhelming engineering
and facilities teams with requests for individual air flow and HVAC design information.

• Building occupants should continue to contact facilities groups when it is too hot, too cold, or there
appears to be some type of dysfunction with an existing system.

• Propping open exterior doors or windows is generally not recommended because it will cause the
system to work less efficiently and can create excessive humidity in buildings (and related air-quality

• Interior doors should not be propped open when that practice overrides mechanical interconnections,
affects security, fire, or life safety codes (e.g., to prevent the spread of fire), or chemical or biological
containment practices (e.g., laboratories).

• Avoid the use of portable high-velocity fans, especially in common areas or open offices when blowing
across multiple workstations.

• Avoid the use of personal plug-in or portable HEPA-filtered systems. The systems on campus are
designed to deliver the proper filtered air changes per hour to individual offices and common areas.