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Fort Garry campus, looking along the pedway with Engineering and Admin buildings in sight.

UM indoor air quality report now available

Report outlines testing results across UM campuses

May 30, 2022 — 

Well-functioning heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems support overall COVID-19 safety protocols by removing and diluting aerosols that may contain viruses from indoor spaces. To ensure the continued safety of the University of Manitoba community, UM recently undertook indoor air quality (IAQ) testing within a representative sample of learning spaces across the Fort Garry and Bannatyne campuses.

Assessments on UM campuses

In fall 2021, UM contracted Pinchin Ltd. to conduct IAQ testing to establish baseline levels. Due to limited activity on campus, this testing was completed in older buildings with older HVAC systems.

In March 2022, UM re-contracted with Pinchin to repeat IAQ testing to account for an increase in in-person activity on UM campuses and changes to fresh air intake into the buildings due to colder exterior temperatures. Consultants from Pinchin Ltd. and UM’s Physical Plant, in collaboration with UM’s Environmental Health and Safety Office, attended the sites to perform the IAQ assessments.

A 24-hour assessment was completed for each space, and Pinchin assessed data from both occupied periods as well as the full 24-hour cycle. The work followed the guidance of the most recent IAQ standards for the indicators being assessed.

Results from the 24-hour testing period were within typical and acceptable ranges, indicating good air quality in the buildings for the duration of the testing period. Read the full report on the COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols webpage.

Building ventilation measures at UM

Significant building ventilation measures have been implemented across UM campuses. Future plans include MERV 13 filter testing on UM buildings, the purchase of equipment to measure air changes in spaces where needed, and improvements to the existing IAQ monitoring program.

It is important to note that ventilation is only one mitigating factor in virus transmission and that other practices such as such as properly wearing a mask and practicing frequent hand hygiene, continue to be important.

Further resources

Frequently asked questions about IAQ are available on the COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols webpage.

If you have questions about the IAQ report, please contact crsc [at] umanitoba [dot] ca.

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