ASHRAE Updates Ventilation Standard for Healthcare Facilities

Changes include expanded requirements to allow airborne infectious isolation room exhaust discharge to general exhaust under certain conditions

By Dan Hounsell, Senior Editor, Facility Market
September 13, 2021

Few topics have been discussed more among healthcare facility managers in the last 18 months than ventination, air filtration and the role of indoor air quality in protecting the health of patients, staff and visitors. Now managers have an additional resource in ensuring the efficiency of HVAC system operations.

ASHRAE recently released an updated edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities. The standard offers healthcare facility managers guidance, regulation, and mandates to designers of health care facilities.

The 2021 edition delivers guidance for designers and managers of front-line facilities and incorporates 17 addenda to the 2017 edition of the standard. Changes include:

  • Expanded requirements to allow airborne infectious isolation room exhaust discharge to general exhaust under certain conditions
  • Revised scope, with improved guidance on thermal comfort conditions provided
  • Extensive modifications to address the Outpatient and Residential sections
  • Extensive revisions to air filtration requirements
  • Addition of new columns in the ventilation tables to prescribe filtration requirement and designate unoccupied turndown
  • Expanded guidance on separation distance requirements for varied intake and exhaust arrangements, coordinating with related ASHRAE Standard 62.1 data
  • Improved guidance related to behavioral and mental health



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