ASHRAE Standard 170: A Guide to Ventilation of Health Care Facilities
ASHRAE Standard 170 is a set of guidelines for designing and operating ventilation systems in health care facilities. The standard aims to provide acceptable indoor air quality for patients, staff, and visitors, as well as to prevent the spread of infections and contaminants. The standard covers various types of health care spaces, such as operating rooms, isolation rooms, intensive care units, laboratories, pharmacies, and more.
The standard was first published in 2008 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), in collaboration with the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE). It was approved as an American National Standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 2010. Since then, the standard has been updated several times to reflect the latest research and best practices in health care ventilation. The most recent edition is ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2021, which was approved in July 2021.
The standard is divided into nine sections: scope and purpose, definitions, general requirements, ventilation requirements for specific areas, filtration and air-cleaning devices, construction and system startup, operation and maintenance, informative appendices, and normative references. The standard provides minimum requirements for ventilation rates, air distribution patterns, pressure relationships, temperature and humidity ranges, filtration levels, and testing methods. The standard also allows for alternative methods and performance-based approaches that can achieve equivalent or better outcomes.
The standard is intended to be used by architects, engineers, contractors, facility managers, infection control professionals, and other stakeholders involved in the design and operation of health care facilities. The standard is also referenced by various codes and regulations that govern health care construction and operation, such as the International Mechanical Code (IMC), the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities, and the Joint Commission Standards for Accreditation of Health Care Organizations.
The standard can be purchased on the ASHRAE website or from ASHRAE Customer Service[^1^]. The standard is also available online for free viewing through ASHRAE's Technology Portal[^2^]. The standard is subject to continuous maintenance and revision by ASHRAE's Standing Standard Project Committee 170 (SSPC 170), which welcomes comments and suggestions from the public. Instructions for how to submit a change request can be found on the ASHRAE website[^3^].
ASHRAE Standard 170 has many benefits for health care facilities and their occupants. Some of the benefits are:
Improved patient outcomes and satisfaction. The standard helps to create a comfortable and safe environment for patients, which can enhance their healing process and well-being. The standard also helps to prevent hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), which can cause complications, morbidity, and mortality.
Reduced operational costs and environmental impact. The standard helps to optimize the energy efficiency and performance of ventilation systems, which can lower utility bills and greenhouse gas emissions. The standard also helps to reduce maintenance costs and downtime by providing clear guidance on testing and verification procedures.
Enhanced compliance and accreditation. The standard helps to meet or exceed the requirements of various codes and regulations that govern health care facilities, such as the IMC, the FGI Guidelines, and the Joint Commission Standards. The standard also helps to demonstrate best practices and leadership in health care ventilation.
ASHRAE Standard 170 is a valuable resource for anyone involved in the design and operation of health care facilities. The standard provides practical and evidence-based solutions that can improve the quality of care and the performance of ventilation systems. The standard is updated regularly to reflect the latest research and innovations in health care ventilation. aa16f39245