Dec. 13, 2021

UCalgary’s commitment to award-winning filtration is a breath of fresh air

Increased outdoor air supply leads to improved work and school performance
Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

After months of online learning, masking, and social distancing, we have become more aware than ever of how important air quality, filtration and circulation is.

UCalgary was recently awarded the National Air Filtration Association’s (NAFA) Clean Air Awards for Craigie Hall and the Clinical Skills Building. The university also received renewal certificates for the Clean Air awards won in 2016-2020 for the following buildings: Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, Taylor Family Digital Library, Aurora Hall, Child Development Centre, Crowsnest Hall, Energy Environment Experimental Learning, Engineering E, Mechanical Engineering, MacKimmie Tower and Engineering G.

  • Photo above: The Facilities team, from left: Ken Brewer, manager, facilities maintenance contracting; Kent Fowler, senior BMS technician; Dean Langham, manager, maintenance and planning; Graham McPhee, HVAC lead hand; Titus Kuechler, HVAC technician; Travis Simington, HVAC technician; Stephen Zelmer, HVAC technician; Jeff Guay, HVAC technician; and Gry White, HVAC technician.

Industry research indicates ventilation and filtration provided by heating and ventilation systems can reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and thus the risk of transmission through the air. 

“In an effort to provide the best possible environment for learning and working, our team has implemented operational changes of the HVAC systems as recommended by ASHRAE,” says Dean Langham, manager, maintenance and planning.

The benefits of clean air

Not only does clean air help keep us safe and healthy, but it also helps the working and learning habits of our campus community. A 2008 study shows that increasing the outdoor air supply rate to workplaces improved work performance by five to 10 per cent. Additionally, the same study showed that improving classroom air quality by increasing outdoor air supply rates improved school performance by eight to 14 per cent. 

“We strive to provide the best air quality possible for all our students, faculty, and staff here at UCalgary,” says Langham.

Clean Air Awards recognize leadership, concerted effort to best practices

The NAFA Clean Air Awards were established to encourage and recognize teams that go above and beyond with their use of filtration products and good maintenance practices. Sustainability, economic benefits and innovation are all key categories that are considered when selecting the recipients. 

While the recognition of the award is welcomed, the UCalgary’s Facilities team knows their work is not done and will continue to provide best-in-class professional and technical services to our campus community.

“Honestly, we’re not in the business of awards, but this does validate our approach, expertise and commitment to our campus community,” says Shane Hubl, director, operations and maintenance. “Additionally, given our fiscally challenging environment, my hope is that this demonstrates Facilities’ ability to obtain the most value from the limited resources we are provided.”

Learn more about air quality at UCalgary.