Outside air management is extremely critical in health care facilities. Today’s HVAC system designer has many choices when it comes to managing outside air. However, reviewing the requirements identified in the building codes permits the designer to focus on the control strategies that are compliant. With this knowledge, the HVAC designer can eliminate several alternatives and choose among the appropriate strategies.
ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the International Building Code (IBC) provide designers with the necessary IAQ standards and goals that will permit “acceptable indoor air quality,” but they are not intended to necessarily describe how to devise a ventilation system that applies these instructions to actual applications.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that ventilation systems be monitored to ensure proper ventilation, early detection of operational problems, optimized performance for particulate removal, and elimination of excess moisture. The CDC also advises that AIA and ASHRAE guidelines be used as minimum standards where state or local regulations are not in place for health care facilities.
IBC identifies requirements for ventilation that apply to all building types. Therefore, it is important that the system designer consult the ASHRAE Handbook—HVAC Applications, the AIA Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospital and Health Care Facilities, as well as the IBC (or local building and mechanical codes). The Handbook further states that where higher outside air requirements are called for, they should be used.
In addition to providing a controlled ventilation system that regulates and maintains a constant supply of design ventilation air, the HVAC designer must be cognizant of energy codes as well. A leakage criterion exists for dampers that are integral to the building envelope. More than half of the states have adopted the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), referenced by the IBC. The IECC states that dampers integral to the building envelope “shall be equipped with motorized dampers with a maximum leakage of 3 cfm/ft² at 1.0 in. w.g. when tested in accordance with AMCA 500.” This requirement is only important for health care environments that are not occupied 24/7 (day care facilities, administration offices, doctor offices, etc.), as well as areas that utilize and require emergency lock-down systems.
Critical Air Paths
Ruskin PSD Pressure Seal Dampers are ideal for buildings with critical air paths including food facilities, federal buildings, pharmaceutical facilities, laboratories, hospitals, biotech labs, nuclear facilities, chemical process plants and military installations.
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