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ASHRAE targets health care with latest guide

November 23, 2009
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ASHRAE thinks that the newest Advanced Energy Design Guide (AEDG), written by a group of leading building industry organizations, may be just what the doctor ordered.

The AEDG for Small Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities is the sixth in the 30 percent AEDG series, designed to provide recommendations for achieving 30 percent energy savings over the minimum code requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-1999.

“The recommendations in the Small Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities Guide provide good design practices for integrating energy efficiency in a healthcare environment, while maintaining indoor air quality and required airflow and pressurization relationships,” said Shanti Pless, chair of committee that wrote the guide.

The Guide focuses on small healthcare facilities up to 90,000 sq ft in size, including acute care facilities, outpatient surgery centers, critical access hospitals and inpatient community hospitals. These buildings have intensive heating and cooling systems, which the guide covers extensively; additionally, it addresses other important energy saving measures such as daylighting.

“The energy efficiency recommendations in the Guide were developed based on design experiences from members of a project committee made up of healthcare facilities design professionals, combined with the insight gained from modeling the energy performance of these specific recommendations,” Pless said.

Some tips that the Guide offers include:

- Providing an unoccupied air flow and temperature setback for spaces that are not used 24 hours a day, such as surgery suites;
- Installing high efficiency condensing boilers with an outdoor air temperature reset schedule for all climate zones to address the high amounts of reheat energy used by such facilities to control humidity;
- Carefully laying out lighting design to meet recommended lighting power density by space type;
- Maximizing the use of daylighting and daylighting-responsive controls through both sidelighting and toplighting strategies in all space types that do not have air change requirements; and
- Installing an insulated thermal envelope, with additional recommendations to address air barriers and continuous insulation strategies.

The recommendations allow contractors, consulting engineers, architects and designers to easily achieve advanced levels of energy savings without having to resort to detailed calculations or analyses.

Also, case studies provide excellent examples of advanced hospital and healthcare facility designs that demonstrate the flexibility offered in achieving advanced energy savings such as the 30 percent goal of the Guide.

The Advanced Energy Design Guide series has been developed in collaboration with these partnering organizations: ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Since the Guides first began to be offered as free downloads at the beginning of 2008, more than 200,000 AEDGs have been downloaded. Other books in the series deal with small office and retail buildings, K-12 school buildings, highway lodging, and small warehouse and self-storage buildings.

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