Building Air Quality Improvement

COVID-19 has changed many aspects of daily life, including how we think about air quality. CEA has received many questions from customers regarding this topic, so we conducted research surrounding air quality and air-cleaning technologies to offer education and support in these uncertain times.

The Basics

While there does not appear to be a single, unqualified solution for eliminating COVID-19 in air, there are products and strategies that can reduce air transmission risks. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasize the importance of proper ventilation and filtration to reduce the spread of airborne contaminants.[1] Proper maintenance and timely replacement of the air filters in your HVAC system can improve the air quality in your building and therefore reduce airborne transmission related risks. Inspect or check with your contractor to ensure your HVAC filter has a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of at least 13. According to ASHRAE, filters with a MERV greater than or equal to 13 are efficient at capturing airborne viruses.[2] Increasing access to outside air can also improve the ventilation and overall air quality in your building.

Air-Cleaning Technologies

Beyond improving ventilation and filtration there are additional steps you can take to improve building air quality. Advanced air-cleaning technologies are on the rise today due to growing health concerns. Two popular air-cleaning technologies are Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) and Bipolar Ionization (BPI). These technologies can improve air quality and HVAC efficiency:[3]

  • BPI technology generates ions that either inactivate airborne particles or bond with contaminants to make them large enough to drop out of the air or be filtered out.
  • UVGI degrades or inactivates contaminants using ultraviolet light.

Preliminary studies indicate air-cleaning devices that utilize BPI or UVGI can combat the spread of aerosols, which can reduce the spread of water droplets in the air that may contain bacteria and viruses (like COVID-19). However, additional third-party testing is required to definitively determine the effectiveness of such technologies at combatting COVID-19. A large healthcare client of CEA’s attributes the well-being of patients and staff to the installation of bipolar ionization technology. Their medical director believes the lack of staff-to-staff and staff-to-patient COVID-19 cases is because of the BPI device that was installed.

If you would like more information on available products or additional ways to improve air quality please contact Claire Wilson at or at (330) 800-9134.