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Safety First: Managing Indoor Air Quality during COVID-19

LEED CREDIT

Pilot-Credits INpc138: Safety First: Managing Indoor Air Quality during COVID-19 1 point

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Post your questions on this credit in the forum, and click on the credit language tab to review to the LEED requirements.

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© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

These special pilot credits are awarded based on project teams attempting to meet the requirements to the best of their ability and providing feedback on the requirements. The credits may change as feedback is received.

To promote precautionary best practices for managing air quality in buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic for the prevention of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air.

Requirements

For LEED O+M v4.1 initial or LEED v4.1 or v4 recertification projects, projects may be awarded additional LEED points for achieving these credits, up to the maximum 100 points for the rating system.

For LEED v4 O+M initial certification projects, this pilot credit is available for 1 point under Innovation.


Building on the indoor air quality prerequisites and credits in LEED, operate the building using minimum core recommendations from ASHRAE for reducing airborne infectious aerosol exposure:

#1a. Ventilation. When the building is occupied (any occupants including cleaning and facility personnel), provide required minimum amounts of outdoor air for ventilation per ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2016 or later.
  • Maintain temperature and humidity design setpoints.
#1b. Filtration. Use filters for recirculated air that perform at MERV 13 or above. Review ASHRAE Standard 52.2 test data supplied by the filter manufacturer to understand pressure drop and efficiency.
Alternative options.
  • #1.c. If 1b cannot be met (for example, central filtration is not available or not able to be upgraded) use in room air cleaners (includes fixed units that are ceiling or wall mounted and portable units) based on mechanical filters to achieve an equivalent or higher air change to MERV 13.
  • #1.d. If 1a and 1b cannot be met (for example spaces not served by HVAC systems), use air cleaning with HEPA filtration to achieve at least five air changes per hour in each occupied space.
    If portable air cleaners are used, noise levels must be below 55 dBA.
Note: Various tools are available for these calculations. For any tool used it is important to understand the underlying assumptions, and limitations of the calculations, and whether the tool has been peer reviewed.

Examples of tools:
  1. COVID-19 Airborne Transmission Tool by Professor Jose L. Jimenez
  2. Portable air cleaner calculator for schools by Harvard-CU Boulder
  3. happē Facility Infection Risk Estimator v2 by Branch Patterns
  4. COVID-19 Energy Estimator by Enverid
  5. Safe Air Spaces COVID-19 Aerosol Relative Risk Estimator by Dr. Richard Corsi and Dr. Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg
#2. Pre-occupancy ventilation. Operate building ventilation and filtration systems for at least one hour or for the time required to achieve three air changes of outdoor air prior to occupied periods.

#3. Inspection and Maintenance. Verify HVAC systems are functioning properly, including HVAC coils and filters. Consider Safety First: Maintenance of HVAC systems during COVID-19 and/or a baseline indoor air quality evaluation (see pilot credit performance based indoor air assessment in existing buildings). Also consider other pandemic protocols that may impact indoor air quality such as cleaning (Consider Safety First: Cleaning and disinfecting during COVID-19).

Update the facilities requirements and operations and maintenance plan as necessary to include how indoor air quality will be managed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Include any changes in schedules or setpoints for different seasons, days of the week, and times of day. Include details for re-instating the energy efficiency measures taken offline after the COVID-19 pandemic. Identify a process for revising approach if necessary, to accommodate new evidence related to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak is an ongoing, developing situation with a rapidly changing legal and regulatory landscape; the information and guidance provided in the LEED Safety First Pilot Credits may at any time not be current and USGBC does not guarantee the accuracy of the information. In preparing this guidance and its conclusions and recommendations, USGBC has tried to incorporate the best available information at the time the guidance was prepared. The results of future studies may require revisions to the recommendations in this guidance.

The recommendations included in the LEED Safety First Pilot Credits do not set a standard, nor should they be deemed either inclusive of all proper methods or exclusive of other methods for workplace reentry. The ultimate judgment regarding the utility of any specific approach and when it is safe to re-enter workspaces must be made by you in light of all circumstances and variables.

USGBC encourages projects teams and owners to monitor publicly available information and to always follow federal, state and local health organization guidance and government mandates. Where appropriate, you should seek the advice of an appropriate licensed professional or relevant government office in your location for advice on current laws and regulations.

Submittals

General
Register for the pilot credit Feedback Survey
Documentation/Compliance
  • Description of ventilation strategies implemented by the project, including confirmation that the ventilation (1a) and filtration (1b) requirements are met
  • If using option 1c, include a description of the air cleaning units and associated calculations to demonstrate equivalent or higher air change to MERV 13.
  • If using option 1d, include description of the air cleaning units and calculations demonstrating at least five air changes per hour is achieved in each occupied space.
  • Noise level information for portable air cleaners (if these are used for option 1c or 1d)
  • Copy of facilities requirements and operations and maintenance plan
  • Description of verification checks performed for the building systems
Changes
  • 6/3/20 - Original Publication (this version can be found archived on the Resource Tab)
  • 3/25/21 - Updates include:
    • Replaced list of guidelines for improving ventilation with criteria for ventilation and filtration.
    • Clarified recommended applications for in room air cleaners
    • Opened pilot credit to schools projects
See all forum discussions about this credit »

What does it cost?

Cost estimates for this credit

On each BD+C v4 credit, LEEDuser offers the wisdom of a team of architects, engineers, cost estimators, and LEED experts with hundreds of LEED projects between then. They analyzed the sustainable design strategies associated with each LEED credit, but also to assign actual costs to those strategies.

Our tab contains overall cost guidance, notes on what “soft costs” to expect, and a strategy-by-strategy breakdown of what to consider and what it might cost, in percentage premiums, actual costs, or both.

This information is also available in a full PDF download in The Cost of LEED v4 report.

Learn more about The Cost of LEED v4 »

Documentation toolkit

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USGBC logo

© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

These special pilot credits are awarded based on project teams attempting to meet the requirements to the best of their ability and providing feedback on the requirements. The credits may change as feedback is received.

To promote precautionary best practices for managing air quality in buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic for the prevention of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air.

Requirements

For LEED O+M v4.1 initial or LEED v4.1 or v4 recertification projects, projects may be awarded additional LEED points for achieving these credits, up to the maximum 100 points for the rating system.

For LEED v4 O+M initial certification projects, this pilot credit is available for 1 point under Innovation.


Building on the indoor air quality prerequisites and credits in LEED, operate the building using minimum core recommendations from ASHRAE for reducing airborne infectious aerosol exposure:

#1a. Ventilation. When the building is occupied (any occupants including cleaning and facility personnel), provide required minimum amounts of outdoor air for ventilation per ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2016 or later.
  • Maintain temperature and humidity design setpoints.
#1b. Filtration. Use filters for recirculated air that perform at MERV 13 or above. Review ASHRAE Standard 52.2 test data supplied by the filter manufacturer to understand pressure drop and efficiency.
Alternative options.
  • #1.c. If 1b cannot be met (for example, central filtration is not available or not able to be upgraded) use in room air cleaners (includes fixed units that are ceiling or wall mounted and portable units) based on mechanical filters to achieve an equivalent or higher air change to MERV 13.
  • #1.d. If 1a and 1b cannot be met (for example spaces not served by HVAC systems), use air cleaning with HEPA filtration to achieve at least five air changes per hour in each occupied space.
    If portable air cleaners are used, noise levels must be below 55 dBA.
Note: Various tools are available for these calculations. For any tool used it is important to understand the underlying assumptions, and limitations of the calculations, and whether the tool has been peer reviewed.

Examples of tools:
  1. COVID-19 Airborne Transmission Tool by Professor Jose L. Jimenez
  2. Portable air cleaner calculator for schools by Harvard-CU Boulder
  3. happē Facility Infection Risk Estimator v2 by Branch Patterns
  4. COVID-19 Energy Estimator by Enverid
  5. Safe Air Spaces COVID-19 Aerosol Relative Risk Estimator by Dr. Richard Corsi and Dr. Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg
#2. Pre-occupancy ventilation. Operate building ventilation and filtration systems for at least one hour or for the time required to achieve three air changes of outdoor air prior to occupied periods.

#3. Inspection and Maintenance. Verify HVAC systems are functioning properly, including HVAC coils and filters. Consider Safety First: Maintenance of HVAC systems during COVID-19 and/or a baseline indoor air quality evaluation (see pilot credit performance based indoor air assessment in existing buildings). Also consider other pandemic protocols that may impact indoor air quality such as cleaning (Consider Safety First: Cleaning and disinfecting during COVID-19).

Update the facilities requirements and operations and maintenance plan as necessary to include how indoor air quality will be managed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Include any changes in schedules or setpoints for different seasons, days of the week, and times of day. Include details for re-instating the energy efficiency measures taken offline after the COVID-19 pandemic. Identify a process for revising approach if necessary, to accommodate new evidence related to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak is an ongoing, developing situation with a rapidly changing legal and regulatory landscape; the information and guidance provided in the LEED Safety First Pilot Credits may at any time not be current and USGBC does not guarantee the accuracy of the information. In preparing this guidance and its conclusions and recommendations, USGBC has tried to incorporate the best available information at the time the guidance was prepared. The results of future studies may require revisions to the recommendations in this guidance.

The recommendations included in the LEED Safety First Pilot Credits do not set a standard, nor should they be deemed either inclusive of all proper methods or exclusive of other methods for workplace reentry. The ultimate judgment regarding the utility of any specific approach and when it is safe to re-enter workspaces must be made by you in light of all circumstances and variables.

USGBC encourages projects teams and owners to monitor publicly available information and to always follow federal, state and local health organization guidance and government mandates. Where appropriate, you should seek the advice of an appropriate licensed professional or relevant government office in your location for advice on current laws and regulations.

Submittals

General
Register for the pilot credit Feedback Survey
Documentation/Compliance
  • Description of ventilation strategies implemented by the project, including confirmation that the ventilation (1a) and filtration (1b) requirements are met
  • If using option 1c, include a description of the air cleaning units and associated calculations to demonstrate equivalent or higher air change to MERV 13.
  • If using option 1d, include description of the air cleaning units and calculations demonstrating at least five air changes per hour is achieved in each occupied space.
  • Noise level information for portable air cleaners (if these are used for option 1c or 1d)
  • Copy of facilities requirements and operations and maintenance plan
  • Description of verification checks performed for the building systems
Changes
  • 6/3/20 - Original Publication (this version can be found archived on the Resource Tab)
  • 3/25/21 - Updates include:
    • Replaced list of guidelines for improving ventilation with criteria for ventilation and filtration.
    • Clarified recommended applications for in room air cleaners
    • Opened pilot credit to schools projects
See all LEEDuser forum discussions about this credit » Subscribe to new discussions about Pilot-Credits INpc138