Thursday, December 16, 2010

ASHRAE 170 & Air Curtains

We recently became involved in a discussion with an engineer who questioned whether or not ASHRAE 170 allows for the use of air curtains. His question was prompted by misinformation from a manufacturer who, incidentally, does not make air curtains.

The purpose of 170 is to establish a minimum standard for designers and engineers of healthcare facilities. 170 is not intended to recommend or exclude a manufacturer, particular product, or even a particular way of doing things. Engineers can choose to exceed this standard if they so wish. Anyone’s assertions to the contrary is nonsense.

We applaud the work of the 170 committee since such a standard has been long absent in our industry. Not unexpectedly, the establishment of ASHRAE 170 has raised awareness of the critical nature of the operating room. For Krueger, sales of air curtain systems have risen as a result. (The effectiveness of air curtains, and particularly Krueger’s Sterilflo System, is well established. The ASHRAE whitepaper DA-07-037, as well as the article regarding air curtains in the March issue of the ASHRAE Journal review their history, their functional parameters, and the microbiologic cleanliness that can be achieved.)

If this manufacturer truly believes that ASHRAE 170 precludes air curtains, the proper response is to ask for an interpretation regarding this issue by the SSPC, using published ASHRAE processes, not to engage in misinformation.

Authored by: Dan Int-Hout, Chief Engineer Krueger