ASHRAE Continues Involvement in Issues of Health Care

November 5, 2007
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The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) continues to be heavily involved in the development, design, and improvement of health care facilities. This includes creating ways to certify top HVACR professionals involved in the health care field.

Regarding the latter, ASHRAE recently certified 29 engineers who passed its newly created health care certification program. ASHRAE’s certification program is designed to identify individuals who have mastered a body of knowledge covering successful design and operation of health care facilities.

The technical content for the exam was developed in cooperation with the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) of the American Hospital Association (AHA).

“The certification shows our present and future clients that we are focused on health care, and that we stay current with design standards,” said Ildefonso Bayron Jr., one of the 29 who passed the exam.

Bayron, an associate partner for Syska Hennessy Group, Los Angeles, noted that this new designation increases his value as an engineer. “I was very proud to know that I was able to meet the challenge of passing a difficult test,” he said.

“At Syska, we recognize the importance of the health care facility design professional exam. We are strongly encouraging all our senior mechanical and project-level engineers across the firm to take and pass this test.”

According to ASHRAE, computer-based exams are now available at testing facilities throughout the United States and Canada. Persons interested in earning the certification must meet certain eligibility requirements and submit a completed application, it said. Membership in ASHRAE is not required to participate.

SUSTAINABILTY STANDARD

In addition to providing health care certification exams, ASHRAE is also looking to develop a code-intended baseline sustainability standard for health care facilities. This is in an effort to make advanced energy-efficiency guidance mainstream, it said.

Bottom line: Proposed Standard 189.2, “Design, Construction, and Operation of High-Performance Green Health Care Facilities,” is scheduled to prescribe the procedures, methods, and documentation requirements related to high-performance, green health care facilities.

“ASHRAE has long understood the unique qualities that define the health care facility,” said Rick Hermans, a member of ASHRAE’s technical committee related to health care design.

“High-performance green design, construction, and operation must recognize those unique qualities in order to be effective in the context of the health care environment. This standard will carefully comply with the requirements of health care givers, while implementing the necessities of sustainability.”

According to Hermans, the standard will apply to patient care areas and related support areas, including hospitals, nursing facilities, and outpatient facilities. The standard will also apply to new buildings, additions to existing buildings, and alterations to existing buildings, he noted.

ASHRAE said it seeks members to form a committee to write the standard. Public comment regarding the new, proposed standard was accepted until Sept. 3.

A list of recommended resources on health care facility design from ASHRAE and other sources is available. For more information, visit www.ashrae.org/certification. For more regarding the purpose and scope of Standard 189.2, go to www.ashrae.org/publicreviews.

Publication date: 11/05/2007

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