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DHS, ASHRAE Sign Memorandum of Understanding

March 2, 2021
Engineering group and federal agency's Science & Technology innovation and collaboration office will explore how best to mitigate the movement of airborne pathogens through building systems.


ATLANTA GA, (March 1, 2021) – ASHRAE and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizing the organizations’ relationship.

The MOU was signed by Charles E. Gulledge III, P.E., 2020-21 ASHRAE President and Robert P. Burns, Executive Director of the Office of Innovation and Collaboration for DHS S&T via electronic signature in January and a kick-off event took place on February 26 to further specify the path forward. The agreement defines parameters by which ASHRAE and DHS S&T will discuss and share information about emerging research results and technologies in HVAC systems, in order to support building occupant health and safety across the Homeland Security Enterprise.

ASHRAE and DHS S&T intend to explore how best to mitigate the movement of airborne pathogens through building systems, including through:

  • Ventilation for reducing the risk of exposure;
  • Effective filtration efficiencies to capture respirable particles;
  • The efficacy, safety and implementation of different air disinfection technologies and operating strategies within the DHS enterprise or in public facilities;
  • The effect of air distribution, directionality and objects within spaces on exposure risk; and
  • Reduced occupancy, and space allocation and room set-up as risk mitigation strategies.

“ASHRAE’s indoor air quality and building systems expertise are crucial in addressing the challenges of limiting the spread of infectious diseases,” said Gulledge. “We are delighted to partner with DHS S&T as we collaborate on key research to support the health and well-being of building occupants.”

Other areas of collaboration include sharing of data to inform models and solutions relating to SARS-CoV-2 and other biological and chemical threats to public health. This will include data related to HVAC systems, types of filters, personnel safeguarding, temperature and humidity control, outdoor air flow rates and sustainable building practices.


About the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate

As the research and development (R&D) arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) focuses on providing the tools, technologies, and knowledge products the nation’s Homeland Security Enterprise needs today and tomorrow. That means S&T constantly works to bridge industry and end-user communities around the nation. S&T’s R&D focus areas cover DHS’s core mission areas and use our network of industry, national laboratory and other partners to seek solutions for capability gaps and define topics for future research. For more information, visit https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology.


Founded in 1894, ASHRAE is a global professional society committed to serve humanity by advancing the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration and their allied fields. For more, contact Karen Buckley Washington, [email protected].