Institutional announcements

SFU wins awards for HVAC excellence, workplace air quality

September 29, 2021
Lorne Stewart, left, territory sales manager with Camfil Canada Inc., presents two Clean Air Awards to SFU's Ron Van Vliet. SFU's Student Union Building and Education Building won the awards in recognition of excellence in air filtration and creating a healthy work environment.

SFU has been honoured with a pair of awards in recognition of its excellence in air filtration and creating a healthy workplace.

The university recently won National Air Filtration Association (NAFA) Clean Air Awards for the new Student Union Building and the Education Building. The annual awards promote the use of high-efficiency filtration products and good maintenance practices, by recognizing efforts to maintain a clean and healthy indoor work environment.

“These awards recognize the work SFU is doing every day to keep our community safe,” says Bernard Chan, energy manager with SFU’s Facilities Services. “Ventilation, along with other factors, plays an important role in keeping our community healthy and safe.”

The awards, which were judged at the beginning of August, are based on a number of factors, including filter’s maximum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating, a measurement of how effective the filter is at trapping small particulate. Also included in the evaluation are the records of air filter maintenance and monitoring as well as the certification of technicians, gasketing of airducts and system cleaning.

Lorne Stewart, territory sales manager with Camfil Canada Inc., who worked on the two buildings and submitted the nominations on SFU’s behalf, says the university has upgraded its filters to MERV-13A, the same standard found within common air spaces of hospitals in the Lower Mainland. He plans on nominating more SFU buildings for the award in the future.

“We at Camfil believe breathing clean air should be a human right,” says Stewart. “With higher levels of filtration implemented – students, faculty and staff should be more productive, focused and have better overall health.”

SFU's new Student Union Building and Education Building both won NAFA Clean Air Awards in September.

SFU follows the health and safety standards, set by ASHRAE, the society that governs heating and ventilation equipment, and used by WorkSafeBC for workplace indoor quality. Adequate ventilation can help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases that spread through droplets and aerosols.

To make sure the university was prepared for the return to campus this fall, Facilities Services upgraded centralized HVAC system filters to MERV-13 and maximized the amount of outdoor air whenever possible. The team also flushes the air in buildings prior to occupancy daily and conducted an HVAC assessment of classrooms, labs and other high-occupancy areas.

Stewart worked with Travis Vilac, maintenance and operations manager for SFU Facilities Services, to submit maintenance and cleaning logs.

“I look forward to continue supporting SFUs initiatives, and wish to nominate more SFU buildings in the future,” says Stewart, after presenting the awards to Facilities Services.