The UC Berkeley campus has hundreds of buildings and each building performs differently based on its design, age, equipment, and critical human factors. Learn more about ventilation in buildings.
"It Smells Smoky in Here..."
We can't stress enough the importance of keeping doors and windows closed when it's smoky outdoors.
Indoor air will commonly smell of smoke during a wildfire event, but when we test it, we find it’s consistently better (i.e., containing lower particulate matter) than being outdoors. Most buildings contain MERV-rated filters that reduce harmful particulate pollution, but do not have charcoal filters that eliminate odors.
Facilities Services’ Role During a Smoke Event
Facilities Services is responsible for maintaining critical air-conditioning and ventilation systems throughout the year. Their teams are incredibly busy on hot and smoky days:
Monitoring HVAC performance
Many of our buildings have mechanical ventilation systems and we monitor their operation during a smoke event. Learn more about ventilation in buildings on the Facilities Services website.
Replacing air filters during smoke events
We replace air filters on a schedule throughout the year. We will monitor the filters during and after a prolonged smoke event and change as needed.
Employees with indoor air quality concerns can:
Contact Facilities Services, Customer Service Center:
Call (510) 642-1032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit a new work order
Request an indoor air quality survey from EH&S:
Call (510) 642-3073 or email email@example.com
Please note, staff are incredibly busy on smoky days so response times may be impacted. EH&S has also installed indoor PM2.5 sensors in various campus buildings to evaluate indoor air quality; data from these sensors is monitored during wildfire smoke events to assist with campus decision-making. Learn more about air monitoring.
Based on operational needs, employees can work with their supervisor to request alternate working arrangements. The Campus AQI Decision-Making Matrix describes actions based on outdoor conditions during wildfire smoke events.