AIA releases strategies to reduce risk of COVID-19 in senior living communities

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) releases strategies to help senior living communities mitigate risk of COVID-19. Photo courtesy RLPS Architects
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) releases strategies to help senior living communities mitigate risk of COVID-19.
Photo courtesy RLPS Architects

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has released strategies and illustrations that can help senior living communities mitigate risk of COVID-19.

These resources were developed by a team of architects, AIA’s Design for Aging knowledge community, public health experts, and engineers, to assist with pivoting communities toward a more sustainable set of strategies that can reduce risk for residents and staff while creating a more comfortable way of life that is supportive of overall well-being.

In addition to the 3D model—produced by RLPS Architects—the team’s findings are detailed in a report for administrators, design professionals, and public officials. These strategies are meant to work in tandem with AIA’s other tools that can assist senior living communities with mitigation measures to safely resume activities and reopen closed spaces. These tools include a seven-step Risk Management Plan for Buildings for assessing hazards and applying strategies that reduce risk and the AIA’s Re-occupancy Assessment Tool.

Developing mitigation strategies is particularly critical for senior living communities, where risk is amplified, AIA said in a press release. The primary risk of transmission is currently considered to be close personal contact, which could occur among residents, staff, and visitors predominantly in gathering areas, such as dining rooms or common areas, and during group activities.

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One comment on “AIA releases strategies to reduce risk of COVID-19 in senior living communities”

  1. From: Paul Grahovac
    Sent: Monday, June 8, 2020 5:09 PM
    To: [Building owner organizations across the country]
    Subject: COVID-19: Ventilation vs Vaccination

    COVID-19: Ventilation vs Vaccination

    Fresh-air ventilation has been determined to have an effect similar to the effect of vaccination.
    “Assessing the Dynamics and Control of Droplet- and Aerosol-
    Transmitted Influenza Using an Indoor Positioning System”
    Co-authored by Timo Smieszek former Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA

    A medical study asserts the ASHRAE level of ventilation (3 Air Changes per Hour) provides the similar effect of an effective vaccine with 60% of the population vaccinated. No doubt the 100% continuous fresh air Passive House systems correspond to a much higher rate of vaccination. A copy of the paper on the study is attached. The study was cited in a Passive House article here:
    Building Science and the Prevention Of Covid-19

    Passive House is not limited to houses. Cornell University built a 26-story Passive House dormitory in New York City:
    Here is a link to a feasibility study related to the project and which discusses HVAC at length:

    “Increase the percentage of outdoor air potentially as high as 100%.”

    “The firm’s research suggests that the “Hygiene Ventilation” approach is only really feasible from an energy perspective for Passive House buildings, while conventional buildings might require up to six times the amount of energy to maintain 100% fresh air circulation.”

    The COVID-19 answer for all occupied spaces in all buildings is Passive House with vertical upward air flow. 100% fresh air ventilation plus a reduced energy bill. See architect and real estate developer Lloyd Alter’s article:

    Horizontal air flow must be avoided.

    In addition to the epidemiology paper in the attached file Vaccination ventilation, I have attached a copy of a very detailed HVAC engineering presentation from the RWDI engineering and science consulting firm on designing to remove coronavirus from building meeting rooms as it is generated in the air by infected occupants. It has application to all building spaces.

    The National Institute of Science & Technology (NIST) posted on June 11:

    NIST Airflow Model Could Help Reduce Indoor Exposure to Aerosols Carrying Coronavirus

    Many different experts across the country and around the world are making the connection between coronavirus, ventilation, and Passive House.

    Maximizing fresh air economically requires the building to be air-tight, so all the air comes and goes through the HVAC system. PROSOCO, one of the two related companies I work for, has products that are important for causing new construction and existing buildings to be air tight. For example, on two large building projects using our products and striving to meet the code blower-door option of 0.4cfm/sqft building envelope, they inadvertently met the Passive House standard 0.08cfm/sqft building envelope – with no leak chasing. For building owners who are considering high levels of air tightness, we have experts who can mark up drawings and photos free of charge to show how it is done quickly and effectively with our fluid-applied products that replace tapes, peel&stick, and building wrap. We have code reports on these products.

    The US needs a building science Manhattan Project to attack this pandemic problem. Until someone or some organization steps forward to do this, I have on board an air sealing specialist contractor and PROSOCO product staff experts, an infectious disease facility expert, an HVAC contractor that is expert in energy recovery ventilation, and an HVAC engineering company. I would like to add an architectural firm. I am seeking a building owner that wants a free COVID-19 retrofit, buy-in from a county that effective air sealing and fresh filtered air ventilation eliminate the need for masks and social distancing within the conditioned space, and funding for the project. My bio is attached.

    This reminds me of how air conditioning caught on so quickly.

    “Air-Conditioning Costs Fell by 97 Percent Since the 1950s”

    A large bar and dance hall installed “air purifiers” after a COVID-19 breakout. An HVAC equipment company is promoting its products for maximizing fresh air ventilation. A law firm recently sued its landlord for not providing safe-from-coronavirus offices.

    Paul Grahovac, LEED AP
    Manager of Building Envelope Codes, Standards & Field Support.
    Director of New Business Development
    General Counsel
    Risk Manager
    PROSOCO, Inc.
    3741 Greenway Circle
    Lawrence, KS 66046

    800 255 4255

    Paul Grahovac, LEED AP
    Manager, Codes, Standards & Field Support
    Vice President, Business Development
    General Counsel
    Risk Manager
    Build SMART, LLC
    3701 Greenway Circle
    Lawrence, KS 66046

    A Focus on Covid-19
    June 1, 2020 by NAPHN
    The North American Passive House Network (NAPHN) conference, #PH2020, ( running every Wednesday, 1 – 4 PM EST, June 24 – July 29, will feature specific efforts at examining the relationship between Passive House design, indoor air quality and specifically the transmission of viruses like COVID-19.
    This focus marks a return to the roots of Passive House. While dramatic energy reductions were the climate imperative and headline, less appreciated has been that better indoor hygiene was also a key founding goal of the Passive House standard and that the criteria for ventilation and airtightness were concerned about improved health outcomes as well as energy efficiency. Today’s wake-up call, driven by our global pandemic, is an important notice to building owners, developers, and professionals of the inherent tools Passive House provides to support healthy outcomes.
    In a session titled It’s About the Outside Air: Why Passive House Ventilation is the Invisible Hand of High Performance, scheduled for Wednesday, June 24 at 3 PM EST, in a general presentation on the scientific criteria, equipment certification and systems design – the presenters will review critical issues like ventilation recirculation and cross-contamination, that if not addressed properly, as is the case in typical construction, can be contributors to virus transmission, and how Passive House specifications deliver lower-risk solutions.
    Then on Wednesday, July 15 at 3 PM EST, a session titled Why does Covid-19 Hate Passive House? Strategies to Mitigate the Spread of Viruses, will take a serious look, in a panel discussion, at virus transmission, Covid-19 specifically, the science, the mechanics, and the implementation of controlling the built environment to minimize the risks to our health. It will debunk the myths and give attendees actionable information to help make buildings a true pandemic refuge.
    “Building design cannot outperform fundamental preventative measures like social distancing to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus”, said NAPHN President, and session panelist, Bronwyn Barry. “But founding Passive House principles and strategies do contribute to healthy outcomes. And we look forward to a lively discussion among panelists and attendees digging into the subject.” See the full program and register.

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