As engineers, our challenge is to achieve safe and healthy care spaces while minimizing environmental impact.
Many engineers seem open to reconsidering health-care ventilation standards. Most, though, are wary, convinced ACH rates exist to provide infection control when, in fact, much of “the table” is based more on history and consensus than evidence.
Because engineers seem to understand infection-control fundamentals, the restrictive and prescriptive nature of the table may be unwarranted. A one-size-fits-all approach may have been appropriate when the table was created a quarter-century ago, but, today, in light of energy concerns, growing knowledge of IAQ, and ASHRAE’s commitment to sustainability, it deserves reconsideration.
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Travis R. English, PE, CEM, LEED AP, is engineering manager for health-care provider Kaiser Permanente’s National Facilities Planning group. He has more than 18 years of experience in the design and construction administration of mechanical and power-distribution systems for institutional, commercial, laboratory, and health-care facilities. His experience encompasses renewable-power systems, net-zero-building design, and building control systems.