Lead Performer: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) — Richland, WA
DOE Total Funding: $1,100,000
Project Term: October 1, 2022 — September 30, 2023
Funding Type: Direct Funding


Despite commercial buildings being less occupied, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in increased HVAC energy use and carbon emissions for many buildings due to a series of pandemic-related building HVAC operation and design recommendations made by ASHRAE and others. These recommendations include increasing the outdoor air fraction and/or air change rate in building ventilation systems above code, disabling demand-controlled ventilation, and installing improved MERV-13 HVAC filters. These measures can result in large increases to HVAC and overall building energy use, and substantially increased carbon emissions, especially in more northern climates with significant heating loads.

Prior PNNL research identified that GUV technology is potentially more effective and more energy efficient than these recommended HVAC measures to reduce airborne transmission and infection of COVID-19 in buildings. More evidence is needed to support this opportunity and its optimized deployment in buildings, including investigating both technology upsides and downsides such as cost, maintenance, disposal issues, and safety. In this project, PNNL will further assess, validate, and develop GUV technology for pandemic preparedness, energy efficiency, and decarbonization benefits. 

The project focuses on five thrusts:

  1. Framework standardization for GUV/HVAC disease mitigation measures
  2. Field evaluations/demonstrations using PNNL’s GATEWAY methodology originally developed to evaluate LED general lighting installations
  3. Simulation studies across climate zones
  4. Laboratory testing of GUV products using PNNL’s CALiPER program, originally developed to test LED lighting products
  5. Industry consensus standards support

This work will help characterize and quantify the energy opportunity provided by GUV, validate and demonstrate the technology for users, educate on how to evaluate and use GUV, and improve the design and application of the technology. The long-term goal of these efforts is to support the broadscale deployment of GUV and its inclusion in building design and operation recommendations as both an effective virus transmission mitigation measure and a significant energy efficiency and decarbonization opportunity.


Primary outputs of this work include:

  • Development of a simulation model to characterize and quantify the energy efficiency, decarbonization, and electrification benefits of GUV technology
  • Publication of case studies that evaluate and demonstrate the technology in real-world applications
  • A standardized approach to conducting evaluations to enable comparability across differing research and evaluation projects
  • CALiPER product testing to characterize the performance variance of commercially available products including safety, efficacy, and efficiency considerations.

GUV buyers and users will use simulation findings, case studies, and CALiPER test results to learn how to evaluate products and to inform disease mitigation and purchasing decisions. Product and technology developers will use test results to learn how to test and report accurate product performance; case studies will inform better product design.

Industry consortia and standards bodies will use simulation findings and CALiPER test results to inform standards and guidelines. At the same time, DOE and others will use the case studies and test results to inform technology opportunities, challenges, and future research needs.


DOE Technology Manager: Wyatt Merrill
Lead Performer: Gabe Arnold, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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