The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 620 million people and taken over 6 million lives globally. The most common way COVID-19 is transmitted is from one person to another through small airborne particles. Indoor air quality research is paramount to moving forward and keeping people safe and businesses open. Syracuse University has been collaborating with Carrier Corporation to develop indoor air quality (IAQ) strategies that help to meet the current challenges of living, working and traveling in indoor spaces during a pandemic and better prepare for possible future epidemics and pandemics.

This R&T forum introduced Carrier’s Healthy Building Program, and the important collaborative research with Syracuse University that will contribute to the design of risk mitigation and IAQ strategies – while considering effectiveness, cost and scale. These findings contribute to standards, guidelines and best practices needed to develop effective and sustainable strategies. These include multi-scale IAQ control strategies at building, room, personal and breathing-zone levels and consider outdoor ventilation, filtration systems, air distribution and cleaning methods, personal ventilation and masks.


Michael Birnkrant, Healthy Buildings and Homes Engineering Lead, Carrier Corporation

Carrier’s Healthy Building Program: Challenges and opportunities When Focusing on People

Dr. Birnkrant leads Carrier’s Indoor Air Quality group, pioneering new HVAC solutions to improve human health in buildings, recently delivering a layered strategy for pandemic resilience in buildings. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and doctorate degree from Drexel University.

Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang, Executive Director, SyracuseCoE, Professor and Director, Building Energy and Environmental Systems Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Syracuse University

Multiscale Strategies for Improving IAQ and Reducing the Risk of Infectious Disease Transmission

Dr. Zhang has more than 30 years of research experience in built environmental systems  (BES) and is a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering & Computer Science at Syracuse University. He is one of three co-leaders of the University’s Energy and Environment research cluster and leads the Heathy and Intelligent Built Environments subcluster. Zhang also serves as the director of the Building Energy and Environmental Systems Laboratory at Syracuse University. Read Dr. Zhang’s full bio here.