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Reviewing Guidelines for Healthcare Facility Ventilation

Completed Research Q&A

Reviewing Guidelines for Healthcare Facility Ventilation

From ASHRAE Journal Newsletter, December 8, 2020

ANSI/ASHE/ASHRAE Standard 170-2013, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities, outlines 886 requirements for ventilation in the healthcare industry. This study aimed to determine if these requirements were supported by evidence in scientific literature. The requirements were compiled and assigned into three categories: rational inclusion, clinical inclusion and evidence-based inclusion. 

Jonathan Flannery, Member ASHRAE, and senior associate director of advocacy at the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE), discusses the research. 

1. What is the significance of this research?

The purpose of this study was to conduct a review of ANSI/ASHE/ASHRAE Standard 170, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities, to determine whether the 886 requirements defined in the Standard (Part 4 of the FGI Guidelines) are supported by engineering and/or scientific evidence. This significance of this research is that determining which requirements already have supporting evidence provides the Standing Standard Project Committee (SSPC) with clarification on what requirements may need additional research.

2. Why is it important to explore this topic now?

This effort helped establish the current state of research available regarding health care ventilation and has helped establish the research agenda and prioritization for SSPC 170 moving forward.

3. What lessons, facts, and/or guidance can an engineer working in the field take away from this research?

This research provides documentation of evidence for many of the requirements within ANSI/ASHE/ASHRAE Standard 170.

4. How can this research further the industry's knowledge on this topic?

This research provides clear indication of what evidence currently exists, and more importantly, the effort has provided a clearer picture of what requirements need to be further studied.

5. Were there any surprises or unforeseen challenges for you when preparing this research?

There was one area in which current research is inconsistent and conflicting. Studies were found for and against mixing ventilation, displacement ventilation and downward ventilation in health care facilities.