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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. One example is the Aeroseal duct sealing project at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Sealing air ducts supports better ventilation.

In Brief

  • Building: University of Ottawa Heart Institute
  • Engineer: GENIVAR | Constructive People
  • Duct Specialists: AWS Technologies
  • Goal: Eliminate duct leakage as cause of building-to-building air contamination
  • Before Aeroseal: Up to 800 CFM* of leakage
  • After Aeroseal: 10 CFM of leakage
  • Results: Virtually eliminated ventilation leakage; Improved system efficiency; Reduced utility costs
University of Ottawa Heart Institute

University of Ottawa Heart Institute Duct Sealing Project. Improved HVAC system efficiency. Reduced utility costs.

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.

Aeroseal Duct Sealing Testimonials

“If duct leakage was the problem, we were facing the possibility of having to actually replace the hospital’s entire duct system – then we heard about Aeroseal. After conducting extensive research on the technology, our health and safety officer approved its use. It then took Aeroseal less than a day to effectively seal one of the hospital’s ventilation shafts. The positive impact that aerosealing the shaft had on system performance was clear and immediate. We are now looking at using Aeroseal elsewhere throughout the hospital to improve the efficiency of our ventilation system.”

Michele Emond
Project Manager
University of Ottawa Heart Institute

“A lot of us were surprised to see that even arc-welded stainless steel ductwork is susceptible to significant leakage. Luckily, Aeroseal offered a safe and unobtrusive way to seal the entire ventilation shaft – without disrupting regular hospital operations.”

Cory MacDonald
Duct Specialist
AWS Remediation Technologies

About Aeroseal Technology

Before/After Aeroseal
  • Developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1994.
  • Research for aeroseal technology was partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Aeroseal is the only duct sealant technology that is applied from the inside of the duct system. It is delivered as a non-toxic aerosol mist that seeks out and plugs leaks.
  • Aeroseal has proven to be 95% effective at sealing air duct leaks.

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