Jan. 9, 2014: ASHRAE Publishes Revised Ventilation Standard for Health Care Facilities
Revised Standard Includes Changes and Clarifications Dealing with Humidity, Ducted Returns, and More
ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2013, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities, was written by ASHRAE and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE). When the standard was first published in 2008, it was the first American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard to specifically address ventilation in health care facilities.
“Without high-quality ventilation in health care facilities, patients, health care workers, and visitors can become exposed to contaminants through normal respiration of particles in the air,” said Paul Ninomura, chair of the 170 committee. “Ventilation systems and designs for health care facilities are intended to provide a comfortable environment for patients, health care workers, and visitors while diluting, capturing, and exhausting airborne contaminants including potentially infectious airborne agents.”
ASHRAE said Standard 170 has been in constant maintenance since 2008 and the past five years have provided an opportunity to review and further improve it. The revised standard features updates, changes and clarifications dealing with humidity, ducted returns, recirculating room units and duct lining, to name a few.
One trend that almost all classes of buildings have seen on the rise lately has been energy efficiency. Health care facilities can be energy extensive buildings and energy recovery can provide significant savings. Provisions for the application of energy recovery are now specifically addressed in Standard 170-2013. However, as the standard stipulates, if energy recovery systems are utilized, the systems cannot allow for any cross-contamination of exhaust air back to the supply airstream. Run around coils are just one example of a system that is permitted, according to Ninomura.
The standard also addresses some issues that may reduce costs to build and operate health care facilities. Standard 170 allows relative humidities as low as 20 percent for some rooms. This may result in smaller capacity of humidification equipment, lower operating costs, and reduced maintenance costs. The standard permits some use of plenum returns in outpatient facilities, which in turn may result in lower construction cost and operating costs.
In addition, some hospitals are interested in utilizing displacement ventilation to reduce operating costs. The standard addresses the application of displacement ventilation within patient rooms.
The cost of ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2013, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities, is $58 ($48, ASHRAE members). To order, contact ASHRAE Customer Contact Center at 800-527-4723 (United States and Canada) or 404-636-8400 (worldwide), fax 678-539-2129, or visit www.ashrae.org/bookstore.
Publication date: 1/6/2014