Aug 24, 2021
Things You Never Thought You'd Care About When Planning A Conference
- Ample pre-function space – check
- Room for breakout sessions – check
- Audio visual equipment – check
- Onsite parking – check
- MERV 13 air filters – Wait, what?
Who would have ever thought we’d be adding questions about air filters and HVAC systems to conference RFPs? Before covid, many of us may not have even known what HVAC stood for, much less be able to rattle off terms like MERV 13 and MERV 8. Now, after a lot of discussion about the importance of air quality, we’ve learned that HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) matters when bringing guests inside. It’s gone even further where meeting planners are now inquiring about what type of air filters are being used in venue’s HVAC systems in their RFPs or how venue's are adjusting their HVAC operating system.
So, what does MERV stand for and why should we care? MERV stands for "minimum efficiency reporting value" and it is basically a measure of how effective a furnace filter is. The higher the rating, the more particles the filter will trap and therefore the higher quality.
For years, Saint Paul RiverCentre relied on MERV 8 filters to do the job, but with the onset of Covid in 2020, we knew it was time to make adjustments to our HVAC systems to ensure the healthiest air quality for our guests and employees. One of those adjustments involved upgrading our filters from MERV 8 to MERV 13.
MERV 8 filters are great for an average home or business and can trap anything larger than three micrometers (common pollen, dust and debris). The MERV 13 filter is capable of trapping anything larger than one micrometer, which effectively traps pet dander, mold spores, car fumes, smoke, bacteria and other micro-allergens that can cause sickness or allergic reactions. Since 2020, all of our air filters on our campus have been converted to MERV 13s.
Our engineering team realizes the importance of using the best filter possible our system can handle, but creating healthy air quality involves more than just a filter change. Our HVAC system has been re-calibrated to pull in more fresh outdoor air and our system runs for more hours in the day before and after guests arrive. Learn more about our HVAC practices here.
So the next time you issue an RFP, don’t be afraid to check in with your venue about their air quality management practices. There are many steps that can be taken to optimize the air quality of an indoor venue and we think it is well worth it.