ASHRAE (American Society for Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) has more than 50,000 members representing more than 130 countries. The Society and its members “focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry.” Therefore it was notable that in October, 2022 in response to both the COVID pandemic and rising cases of RSV, the society issued a position document on infectious aerosols that recommended a multi-layered protective approach.
Specifically, while the ASHRAE position document reiterated support for proven building and infrastructure technologies proven to reduce concentrations of airborne pathogens, it noted the importance of individual-level protection strategies:
“Strategies using engineering controls for managing the risk from infectious aerosols should focus on reducing exposure to infectious aerosols in the breathing zone.”
The recommendation by ASHRAE that technological advances in preventing airborne infectious disease transmission should focus on individualized protection is a remarkable turn of events, given the emphasis of the society on building infrastructure.