AABC Member Brian Venn, TBE, CxA, shares an article on ‘Notes on Healthcare Facility Compliance’ with MCD Magazine highlighting a total system balance approach to maintaining healthy HVAC Systems.
As populations grow, healthcare facilities are under increased pressure to be safe, complaint and profitable, all just to stay in business. Many facilities struggle with annual compliance, and documentation required to achieve it in surrounding ventilation, especially due to the pandemic. Changing rules and regulations make it hard to stay up-to-date on everything ventilation requires.
I’m asked all the time, where do I start? My first advice is to hire an AABC accredited test & balance firm. AABC firms employ the total system balance approach, especially in healthcare facilities. The second question I get is what is the total system balance approach?
The total system balance approach means looking at all aspects of an HVAC system prior to, and during, the TAB process. This includes air and hydronic design review, drawing details, installation, sequence of operation and effort to maintain the systems after TAB is complete. In healthcare facilities, this is ultra-critical because, many times, facilities need to control the pressure of their critical areas, like operation suites. In a hospital, controlling the pressure cascade is vital to keeping clean areas like operating rooms under positive pressure, and areas like chemo mixing labs under negative pressure for the safety of the occupants.
The total system balance approach serves the owners’ best interest because the sequence of operation is tested for performance under all conditions: heating, cooling, minimum unoccupied and economizer modes are tested as suggested by the AABC Standards (7th edition). Most specifications only call for cooling and minimum (sometimes called heating) modes to be recorded in the TAB report. Hospitals specifically need to know the fan performance for unoccupied modes because that is where they gain a lot of energy savings. It is where they want to run the fans as much as possible unless in the case of…