Ventilation of health care facilities is considered in a revised ASHRAE standard. ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2013, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities, was written by ASHRAE and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE). It provides environmental control for comfort, as well as infection and odor control.
When the standard was first published in 2008, it was the first American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard in the nation to specifically address ventilation in health care facilities.
Provisions for the application of energy recovery are now specifically addressed in 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.
The standard also addresses some issues that may reduce costs to build and operate health care facilities. Standard 170 allows relative humidities as low of 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.
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 rooms units and duct lining, to name just a few refinements.