February 2021 ASHRAE West MI Newsletter Print


UPDATE from the MI Joint Chapters of ASHRAE COVID-19 Task Force

By Sonya M. Pouncy, CEM, CMVP, LEED-AP


The new year has begun and the Joint MI Chapters of ASHRAE have hit the ground running. Read on to see what we’ve been up to.

The Michigan K-12 Public School HVAC Assistance Program

We will be continuing our volunteer work with the Michigan Department of Energy Great Lakes & the Environment (EGLE) and the Department of Education. EGLE has extended its Michigan K-12 Public School HVAC Assistance Program. Currently, there is no definitive end date. Very likely, the program will run until funds are exhausted. Previously, the program endeavored to provide HVAC system assessments for 100 MI school buildings. With the extension, they are now looking to assess 200 buildings. The assessments are accomplished by visiting the site, reviewing the HVAC systems and completing the EGLE provided Checklist. A link to the Program website with complete details is available on the Detroit Chapter’s COVID-19 Task Force page.  

Please note that, while the EGLE website says that funding is provided to Michigan licensed HVAC contractors, other service providers may participate in this program as well. All service providers must be licensed in MI. In lieu of an HVAC contractor’s license, consulting engineering firms can provide the license of their chief mechanical engineer or they can partner with a licensed contractor. This is participation is encouraged because the assessment includes system improvement recommendations, which the consultant or engineer is well-suited to provide.

Volunteers from MI’s two ASHRAE Chapters can participate in this program in two ways:

  • School participation requires the completion of a pre-assessment survey. The survey is somewhat technical in nature with questions about filter MERV ratings and such. Some schools do not have on site personnel that are comfortable completing it. Members of the volunteer corps from our two chapters assist the school facility staff person in completing the survey. This is usually a 20-minute virtual conversation.
  • Some school facility teams are interested to know, in general, what they should be doing with their HVAC systems to help reduce risks transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. These school personnel may not belong to professional societies like ASHRAE where they have regular access to technical information. And, because our monthly meetings and annual conferences tend to “get into the weeds,” information there may not be best suited for this type of triage work. Members of the volunteer corps from our two chapters can provide the school facility team a one-on-one seminar presentation on ASHRAE recommendations for filter MERVs, relative humidity levels and increasing ventilation rates. The presentation is agnostic, meaning that it favors no particular manufacturer and presenters have agreed to represent only ASHRAE information. There is absolutely no selling of equipment or services allowed during these sessions. This is usually a 30 to 45-minute virtual conversation.


Special Webinar on Air-Cleaning

This summer, we provided a number of seminars through the Detroit Chapter on topics related to COVID-19 and HVAC systems. There were sessions on domestic water system flushing, IAQ, relative humidity, and room air distribution. With all the continued interest in increasing media filter MERV levels in AHUs and RTUs, we’ve decided to offer a webinar on this topic as well. On a February date TO BE DETERMINED, the Joint MI ASHRAE Chapters will be providing a special webinar on Air-Cleaning. The webinar will feature two presenters—ASHARE Distinguished Lecturer, Jim Newman, CEM, LEED-AP, OPMP, BEAP and Fred Marshall, a filtration specialist and member of the sales team at Camfil. Fred will be discussing the ASHRAE 55.2 rating test procedure, the evolution of it and ISO 16890 toward a single standard, the meaning behind ratings of MERV and MERV-A. Jim will discuss how other air-cleaning technologies (particularly UV-C, PCO and ionization) augment media filters and code implications if any of these technologies are used to reduce energy consumption by reducing outdoor air quantities. Look for an email update on this special webinar.


Recommendations to Help Reduce Risks for COVID-19 Transmission via HVAC Systems

The Task Force recently updated its Recommendations for HVAC & Domestic Water Systems When Re-Opening Facilities after Periods of COVID-19 Dormancy. The current version is available on the Detroit Chapter’s website. This is a great tool to use when talking with your clients about changes they may wish to make at their facilities to reduce their CVID-19 risks. It simplifies some of the highly technical information presented on the Society website and, in some cases, provides detailed steps to implement improvements. It was developed by locally, by members of the Detroit and W. Michigan ASHRAE Chapters.

Back to top


Looking for a Clean Slate? Look to Your Air System

By Sonya M. Pouncy, CEM, LEED-AP, CMVP with John Line, ASCS


Well, 2021 is upon us. How are you starting off the year? If you plan to start with a clean slate, then there’s no better place to start than your building’s air system and duct work. These are the lungs, airways, and alveoli of your building. Buildings, like the human body, take in (hopefully) clean outdoor air, extract the necessary oxygen and exhaust used air laden with carbon dioxide. Between the holidays, I had an opportunity to sit down, virtually of course, with John Line, a NADCA certified air system cleaning specialist and member of the Joint MI ASHRAE Chapters’ COVID-19 Task Force, to learn a little about air system cleaning.

Sonya:  How is air system cleaning accomplished?

John:     It starts with an inspection. Every building’s air system should be inspected regularly. The frequency depends on the type of building. Residential buildings compliant with NADCA Standard ACR-2013, are inspected every 2 years. Commercial buildings, including schools, are inspected annually. Health care buildings should also be inspected at least annually, but in my experience, most are inspected semi-annually. Grilles, registers and diffusers are inspected semi-annually.

Sonya:  The NADCA ACR sounds similar to ASHRAE Standard 180 in this regard.

John:     Yeah, they complement each other. The ACR is referenced in ASHRAE Standard 180 and vice versa. They both give minimal inspection frequencies as a standard of care, but whereas the ASHRAE standard is concerned with the nature and frequency of inspections, the NADCA standard is primarily concerned with the inspection types and detailed procedures.

Sonya:  How is the ductwork inspected?

John:     We actually use robotic rovers outfitted with digital cameras that we drive through the ductwork. That’s one of the fun aspects of the job. If the inspection finds an accumulation of particulate matter, that the air system performance is compromised due to construction debris; contamination build-up; infestation of birds, rodents, insects or their by-products; moistures or the presence of mold growth; or that the system is the source of unacceptable odors, then an actual cleaning is in order.

Air-handler interior surfaces—the walls, flooring and ceiling, as well as fan blades and housings, dampers, etc., should be cleaned and disinfected with an EPA-approved disinfectant. But, ductwork is only cleaned. There are no EPA-approved compounds that can be used to disinfect ductwork.

Sonya:  Really? No chemicals in the ductwork. Well, in light this COVID-19 pandemic, the burning question on  a lot  building operators minds is: How is the ductwork cleaned?

John:     We use source removal techniques—a hand vacuum or cloth but more typically a robotically driven brush. Some compounds may be used inside duct work. These are fungistats, algaestats and bacteriotstats. They inhibit the growth of fungi, algae and bacteria that are not human health related. But, the sanitizers, which reduce the bacterial population on inanimate surfaces and objects significantly (by at least 3 log10 reduction or 99.9%), disinfectants, which eliminate specific species of microorganisms, and antimicrobials, which destroy microorganisms have not been studied in ductwork applications and we don’t know what the impact would be on the human occupants, so there’s no EPA approval on that.

Sonya:  How clean are you able to get the ductwork?

John:     Oh, very clean. Almost like new. We’re able to clean out the debris and contaminants that can detract from air system performance.

Sonya:  And, what about the components inside the air-handler? The coils, fans, dampers, etc.?

John:     There we do have EPA-approved solutions for cleaning and disinfection. They can be sprayed or fogged-on. They help fight your typical “green molds,” things like cladosporium, aspergillus and penicillium. If there is suspected stachybotrys, black mold, then we’d take a bio-tape sample and under chain-of-custody procedures have it analyzed. Various cleaning and disinfection compounds are used depending on the type of contaminant identified. There’s even one for the legionella bacteria.

Sonya:  Really? The legionella bacteria. Then what about cooling towers? Can and should these solutions be used there, too?

John:     There are specific bio-sprays designed for use with cooling towers—the basins, the fill, etc. These components would be sprayed to break up any accumulated scale, then power -washed.  There are bio-sprays to destroy both the legionella bacteria and the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Sonya:  What if the system has automated chemical water treatment?

John:     This is disinfection is separate from water treatment, which is done monthly or continuously depending the facility’s needs. This cleaning and disinfection should be done annually and should be a standard part of any cooling tower maintenance program.

Sonya:  Absolutely! I can really see the inter-relatedness of our two professional societies and the importance of our collaboration. As design engineers and consultants, we’re responsible for making sure our building owning clients get system manuals that explain how their HVAC systems are to be operated and maintained. Sometimes, we stop at the tasks and frequencies, but we should consider going a step further and providing guidance, especially, where chemicals can and cannot be used. That would be particularly helpful in this time of COVID-19.

I’m so glad you joined the Joint MI ASHRAE Chapters’ COVID-19 Task Force. If our readers want more information on HVAC cleaning procedures, where can they get it?

John:     Like ASHRAE, NADCA has a position document and other guidance related to the virus. The NADCA Position Paper on Chemical Product Applications in HVAC Systems is available from the resources section our website at


Back to top

Upcoming Webinar

FEBRUARY 25th Webinar with Detroit Chapter 
12 PM - 1 PM

With COVID-19 still circling like a vulture , it's no wonder that IAQ, air-cleaning and filters are en vogue. Everyone is talking about MERV ratings. But, what about MERV-A ratings? Do you know the difference? Find out at this informative lunchtime webinar Thursday, Feb 25th  12 PM - 1PM., where Fred Marshall and Jim Newman will be discussing this and other exciting topics in air-cleaning:

  1. How media filters really work and their efficacy against COVID-19 
  2. ASHRAE 52.2 rating test procedure, including MERV and MERV-A filter ratings
  3. Harmonization of ASHRAE 52.2 & ISO 16890, and when we can expect this to happen
  4. How other air-cleaning technologies (particularly UV-C, PCO, BPI and DHP) augment media filters
  5. Code implications when air-cleaning is used to reduce OA quantities 
  6. 3rd party testing to verify the efficacy of air-cleaning technologies

Fred has over 30 years’ experience in the filtration industry and has worked for American Air Filter, Fiberbond Corporation and the Farr Company. For a brief time, he worked with a local filter distributor in Metro Detroit before starting two of his own companies, Air Filtration Concepts and Ventilation Technologies. AFC was a distributor and representative for Farr, FiberBond, and Filtration Group. VTI designed, manufactured, and installed their own Mist Collectors and Dust Collectors to the automotive industry. In 2003 the filter side of AFC/VTI was purchased by EXFil which was later purchased by Camfil. Camfil asked Fred to stay on as the Branch Manager. In his current role, in addition to supporting sales on the eastern side of Michigan, Fred educates customers and industry practitioners on filtration technologies.


Jim is an ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer and a pillar of the green building design and sustainability community. Previously he owned a large manufacturer's representative firm. Today, he is the managing partner of Newman Consulting Group, where he uses his years of experience in design and manufacturing to help owners and facility managers improve the performance of their buildings. Frequently, he speaks across North America and around the globe educating lawmakers, industry practitioners and student groups on ways to improve building energy efficiency and IAQ. Jim is a Fellow of both ASHRAE and the Engineering Society of Detroit and an active member of the Joint MI ASHRAE Chapters COVID-19 Task Force, which has been helping various departments in the State of Michigan to develop guidance in responding to the pandemic.


Webinar Details:

  1. Thursday, Feb 25th  12 PM - 1PM  
  2. Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 953 0477 7630 and Passcode: 3aSvHz

Next Month: Air Conditioning for the Environment of Care March 15th with:

David Schurk DES., CEM., LEED-AP., CDSM., CWEP., SFP., CIAQM., HCCC.,

Director-Business Development at Global Plasma Solutions

David serves as Director of Business Development for Global Plasma Solutions, headquartered in Charlotte NC (USA). In previous positions he worked for three of the world’s largest HVAC manufacturers, including Carrier, Daikin, and Trane.

David is a Licensed Designer of Engineering Systems with over 38-years of experience in the design and analysis of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems for a variety of market sectors, with a special focus on hospital/healthcare environmental control and indoor air quality.

David attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and is a LEED-AP who has been involved in the conception, design, and selection of HVAC systems for a number of projects achieving LEED certified status. He is also an ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer, a Certified Energy Manager (CEM), a Certified Demand Side Manager CDSM), a Certified Water Efficiency Professional (CWEP), a Certified Sustainable Facilities Professional (SFP), a Certified Indoor Air Quality Manager (CIAQM), and is Health Care Constructor Certified (HCCC). He is active in the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) as Member and serving on the ASHE Editorial Advisory Board, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) as Member and past Chapter President, the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), and many other national and regional industry associations.

David has authored numerous technical articles for industry magazines and journals including ASHRAE, Medical Construction & Design, Healthcare Design, Engineered Systems, Heating-Piping & Air-Conditioning, and others. He is a featured presenter at national, international, and regional industry associations and events. He can be reached at [email protected] or 920-530-7677.

Title: Air Conditioning for the Environment of Care

Classification: Basic and Intermediate.


The time has come for the public to begin reoccupying buildings all across the country, yet there still remains great concern about the possibility of transmission through the air of various pathogens (especially SARS-CoV-2) among individuals in both private and public sectors.

The ASHRAE Position Document on Infectious Aerosols outlines HVAC-system recommendations for various buildings and facilities which are aimed at reducing occupant exposure to airborne disease. Practices addressed include ventilation-related strategies comprised of dilution, airflow patterns, pressurization, temperature/humidity distribution-and-control, filtration, and other “best practice” approaches.

This presentation will provide a basic understanding of these recommendations. It will also include an expanded discussion that covers suggested HVAC system upgrades that (when combined with more traditional approaches) may result in superior environmental quality, health, safety, and comfort for occupants within building structures of all types.

Topics addressed will include:

  • The latest ASHRAE guidelines and recommendations.
  • Mechanical filtration upgrades.
  • Proper humidity design & control.
  • UVGI systems for coil, in-duct, and upper room use.
  • Bipolar Air ionization & other advanced IAQ technologies.
  • Ozone considerations, concerns, and regulations.
  • Specific COVID-19 recommendations.


Recommended Audience:

Hospital and Healthcare Owners, Operators, Engineers, Facility Managers and Design Professionals.

Back to top


Want to learn about the preferred method for ASHRAE loads calculations? Check out this technical article from IES Ltd. about the ASHRAE Heat Balance Method which includes a free online training. Free access is available here:

Back to top