For commercial or residential buildings, the primary role for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems is to maintain comfort, but for healthcare facilities, HVAC systems are also vital in improving indoor air quality and mitigating airborne transmission of disease.
Healthcare facilities demand more from HVAC systems due to the varying environments, thermal conditions and codes regarding reliability and hygiene. HVAC systems for healthcare facilities must be able to remove airborne contaminants along with bacteria that can spread infection while providing proper conditions for procedure and/or surgical areas. They also need to adhere to the minimum standards for healthcare ventilation, air changes, temperature, humidity, filtration and design.
There are fundamental considerations for healthcare HVAC systems, including design, size, and energy efficiency, and RTM Engineering Consultants has deep expertise in this area.
The design must accommodate a variety of indoor environments, including critical care spaces, operating rooms, recovery rooms, and intensive care units, and adjust to the different temperatures and humidity conditions required of these spaces.
The sizing of an HVAC system must contain enough functional capacity to provide the level of heating, cooling and ventilation needed by the facility. Also, the system must be extremely reliable as system breakdowns could put patient health and safety at risk. Routine maintenance needs to be performed regularly to keep HVAC systems running smoothly and efficiently.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates HVAC systems consume nearly half of all energy used in healthcare facilities. To reduce energy consumption, energy conservation practices can be applied, such as optimizing HVAC performance by improving HVAC components such as fans, coils and filters, dampers and ducts, and controls.
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