AbstractThe COVID-19 pandemic has focused renewed attention on the ways in which building HVAC systems may be operated to mitigate the risk of airborne disease transmission. The most common suggestion is to increase outdoor-air ventilation rates so as to dilute the concentrations of infectious aerosol particles indoors. Although this strategy does reduce the likelihood of disease spread, it is often much more costly than other strategies that provide equivalent particle removal or deactivation. To address this tradeoff and arrive at practical recommendations, we explain how different mitigation strategies can be expressed in terms of equivalent outdoor air (EOA) to provide a common basis for energy analysis. We then show the effects of each strategy on EOA delivery and energy cost in simulations of realistic buildings in a variety of climates. Key findings are that in-duct filtration is often the most efficient mitigation strategy, while significant risk reduction generally requires increasing total airflow to the system, either through adjusted HVAC setpoints or standalone disinfection devices.