Importance of Proper Ventilation in Healthcare Facilities

Hospitals and medical facilities are typically “on-call” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So, ventilation in these critical care facilities is of prime importance. A recent article in HPAC Engineering outlines several ventilation strategies for healthcare facilities that could help decrease energy use while still maintaining indoor air quality and patient safety.

Hospitals consume significantly more energy than buildings and facilities of similar size due to the occupancy and hours of operation. The large quantity of outside air necessary for proper ventilation requires an increased amount of energy to condition. Both the Facilities Guidelines Institute (FGI) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) have specific requirements for healthcare spaces that provide detailed information about total air changes, outside air changes and the need to fully exhaust certain spaces depending on the use.

Some of the effective energy-saving ventilation strategies mentioned in the article include:

  • Use of high-quality air filters
  • Bipolar ionization
  • Air-side heat recovery devices
  • Digital controls for night-time setback
  • Supply air temperature reset

It is also important to note that healthcare facilities that are not properly ventilated, designed or controlled can lead to the spread of airborne pathogens throughout the facility. Hospital patients who have compromised immune systems could be infected and/or pathogens could be spread to the rest of the hospital.

Another effective ventilation strategy that can help with improved ventilation, decreased energy use and containment of airborne contaminants is Aeroseal duct sealing. The University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) detected that an isotope created in one of its  laboratories had somehow migrated to an adjacent wing of the building. By using Aeroseal duct sealing technology to seal leaks in one of the ventilation shafts, the hospital ensured that the isotope wasn’t spreading from one shaft to the other. In addition, once the shaft was aerosealed, the hospital immediately noticed another significant benefit – dramatically improved ventilation efficiency and lower energy costs. Click here to read the complete Aeroseal UOHI case study

 

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