With students and teachers spending at least seven hours a day at school, AMS is making indoor air quality a priority. Adding MERV 13+ air filters in all AMS buildings—MERV 16 in all GEN7 Series—is just the start.
COVID reminded us how quickly an airborne virus can spread—especially in an indoor environment where the air is already up to five times more polluted than the air outside.
Unhealthy indoor air puts people’s health—potentially their lives—at risk.
So AMS is doing something about it.
Our GEN7 buildings have always been the benchmark for health and wellness, but we can raise the bar. We can make the air in every AMS building cleaner and safer.
We’re upgrading our building systems to make MERV 13+ filters standard in all new AMS buildings. And we’re upgrading to MERV 16 in every GEN7 Series. That’s the filtering equivalent of an N95 mask—a standard that safeguards the health of every person in our buildings.
What is MERV?
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) rates the performance of an air filter based on its efficiency in removing airborne particles too small for the eye to see—a test standard known as the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value scale, or MERV.
All filters are assigned a MERV rating ranging from 1 to 16. The higher the MERV rating, the more airborne particles a filter can capture and the cleaner the air will be.
To help protect against the COVID-19 virus, ASHRAE updated its recommendation from MERV 8 filters to MERV 13+— a recommendation endorsed by the EPA, CDC and CHPS.
MERV 13+ filters are medical-grade, used in hospitals where a clean air environment is essential. MERV 13 fabric can trap microscopic airborne particles down to 0.3 microns—the hardest particle size to capture and among the most dangerous.
Why Are High-MERV Filters Best for Schools?
They can remove 95% or more of harmful allergens, pathogens and toxins from the air—the main causes of sickness in schools and childcare facilities.
Healthier Students. Higher Achievement.
Without adequate filtration, schools can become incubators for disease. Airborne infection is nearly 20 times more likely to spread indoors than outdoors. With a large number of children in a confined space, it spreads quickly, then is carried home where it can spread further.
COVID-19 particles can live in the air as long as three hours, transmitted throughout a classroom every time an infected person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes.
The faster the indoor air is filtered through a high-MERV filter, the less likely students and teachers are to be exposed to virus or bacteria particles that can be inhaled into the lungs where they can cause respiratory illnesses or weaken immune systems, lowering resistance to colds and infections.
Many schools, especially those with older HVAC systems, use MERV 8 filters—lower-strength filters that can’t block harmful virus and bacteria particles. MERV 13+ filters are much stronger, helping schools maintain a clean indoor environment free from everyday pollutants while neutralizing dangerous airborne pathogens, like virus and bacteria carriers.
Lowering the risk of exposure means less sickness and fewer missed school days.
And creating a more comfortable environment leads to higher levels of productivity and academic achievement—more important than ever as schools struggle to mitigate learning loss from the pandemic.
School Air Quality Starts with Filtration—But Doesn’t End There
Enhanced filtration is just one variable in the IAQ equation.
At AMS, we’re layering multiple safe building strategies to create a healthier, more comfortable environment for the students and teachers who spend their days in our buildings.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be blogging more about IAQ and new clean air technologies—plus federal funding options that make health-focused building improvements more affordable for schools.
Learn more about AMS health and safety protocols for Navigating COVID-19.
See why our GEN7 brand is the healthiest building solution for schools.
Ready to build? Request a Quote to get costs for designing a safe school project.