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Courthouse HVAC System Evaluations

A list of Trial Court COVID-related HVAC system assessments of courthouses across the state.

Table of Contents


The Massachusetts Trial Court has conducted a series of COVID-related HVAC system assessments in courthouses across the state. Reports on the assessed buildings from our contractor, Tighe & Bond, a regional engineering and environmental consulting leader in the Northeast, are linked below in alphabetical order by location. This is an ongoing process with reports being updated as additional information becomes available and additional reports being posted as they are issued.

Tighe & Bond began site visits in August 2020 to review system equipment and then arranged for a firm to conduct testing and balancing on system functionality. In September 2020, Tighe & Bond provided a general overview of their potential recommendations for study and design services of system upgrades and replacements. That overview is also linked below.

The HVAC evaluations linked below include a summary along with the full Tighe & Bond report for each facility. Their assessment used guidance and recommendations from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as best practices learned from the firm’s collective experience designing heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for numerous building types.

The Tighe & Bond assessment includes recommendations on how to optimize the building’s equipment to meet the COVID safety standards identified by these organizations. Recommendations are included on the summary page along with the progress on the recommendations.

A guide to some terminology and abbreviations in the reports is below.

BMS          Building Management System

computer based control system that monitors and adjusts building mechanical system


Cubic Feet per Minute of air

Dr. Joseph G. Allen, Associate Professor and Director of the Healthy Building Program at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, recommended a total target level of 30 CFM per person for COVID operational planning with reduced occupancy.

Demand Control Ventilation

BMS control sequence that monitors CO2 levels and adjusts outdoor air to meet building code and minimize operating cost

Economizer Control Sequence

BMS control sequence that monitors outdoor air conditions and increase outdoor air volume when the outdoor air can be used in higher quantities to provide free cooling to the building (typically during spring and fall seasons)

MERV Rating

Air Filter Efficiency Rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value)

Outdoor Air

Total Volume of outside air

Pre-Occupancy Flush

Start ventilation equipment prior to occupancy to provide a minimum of 3 air changes prior to occupancy

Post-Occupancy Flush

Maintain ventilation equipment operation after occupancy to provide a minimum of 3 air changes prior to returning to unoccupied mode


Recommendations on Filtration


Recommendations Control System Work


Recommendations on Equipment Maintenance and Upgrades


Recommendations in Other Areas


Recommendations on Supply and Ventilation


Recommendations on Additional Filtration & Air Cleaning


Recommendations on Testing and Balancing

To Be Evaluated

Recommendation may warrant a case-by-case review of a specific space in the courthouse.

Total Air

Total volume of air including filtered and outdoor air

Tighe & Bond Overview of Potential Recommendations

Tighe & Bond HVAC Evaluations of Courthouses

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