Engineered Systems Magazine

ASHRAE releases new health care ventilation design requirements

September 12, 2008

Just like the right dose of medicine can improve health, proper ventilation is an integral part of patients’ well-being in health care facilities.

Requirements to ensure high-quality ventilation can be found in a new standard written by ASHRAE and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE). ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE    Standard 170-2008, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities, defines ventilation system design requirements that provide environmental control for comfort, as well as infection and odor control.

The standard is the first ANSI standard in the nation to specifically address ventilation in health care facilities and is available for adoption by various authorities for health care facility construction such as city, state and federal governments and by private national organizations such as the Facilities Guidelines Institute and the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

Without high-quality ventilation in health care facilities, patients, health care workers and visitors can become infected by simply breathing.

“Air-transmitted pathogens can be found everywhere in poorly ventilated health care facilities,” Richard Hermans, P.E., ASHRAE certified healthcare facility design professional (HFDP), chair of the committee that wrote the standard, said. “Because these organisms are found in higher concentrations in hospitals and because patients are susceptible to them, additional care should be taken in the design of ventilation systems.”

The standard addresses systems and equipment; space ventilation for a variety of areas in health care facilities, including airborne infection isolation rooms, critical care units, burn units, surgery rooms, and Class B and C operating rooms; and planning, construction and system startup.

The cost of ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities, is $54 ($43, ASHRAE members).

To order, contact ASHRAE Customer Service at 1-800-527-4723 (United States and Canada) or 404-636-8400 (worldwide), fax 404-321-5478, or visit the ASHRAE bookstore .