Starr and PSU Professor Bahnfleth Discuss Impacts of COVID on Building Ventilation Systems

Emily Starr, PE, LEED AP BD+C, CPHC, a senior project manager in KCI’s mechanical engineering practice, recently had the opportunity to co-host a podcast on the potential impact that COVID-19 will have on building design, ventilation and other building systems. Presented by Warehaus, a Mid-Atlantic architecture and engineering design firm, the podcast is part of a series focused on exploring the unprecedented times and changes the pandemic will have on the world.

During the podcast, Emily interviewed Dr. William Bahnfleth, a professor of Architectural Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University and Chair of the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force. Bahnfleth has spent the last 20 years researching indoor air quality, specifically related to controlling infection risk in buildings.

Starr and Bahnfleth’s conversation was focused on current ventilation standards including the amount of outdoor air brought in, filtration and airflow patterns, and the challenges that must be addressed in order to keep transmission of the virus at a minimum. Bahnfleth also acknowledged the struggle of balancing the cost of energy with better air quality, but believes that this pandemic has drawn people’s attention to the importance of indoor environmental quality.