ASHRAE Standing Standard Project Committee 170 (SSPC 170)
Ventilation of Health Care Facilities


This project committee is responsible for maintaining
ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities


ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities, is one of a family of documents that offers guidance, regulation, and mandates to designers of health care facilities. It is first and foremost a mandatory minimum requirement and, as such, may not always offer the state-of-the-art best practice for health care ventilation design. Other publications, such as the ASHRAE HVAC Design Manual for Hospitals and Clinics, complement the standard, providing additional depth and detail for the designer. In addition, the health care designer must refer to any design requirements from the appropriate jurisdiction that has authority. Many jurisdictions use or refer to Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities, published by the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI). Where practical, the committee was cognizant of these other documents in the development of this standard.

Ventilation design for health care spaces is a combination of tasks that leads to a set of documents used in construction. One such task requires medical planners to develop departmental programs of spaces. These programs include space names that suggest the use for which the space is intended, and health care ventilation designers depend upon these names to determine the ventilation parameters for their designs. This standard provides these ventilation parameters.

Ventilation systems and designs for health care facilities are intended to provide a comfortable environment for patients, health care workers, and visitors while diluting, capturing and exhausting airborne contaminants including potentially infectious airborne agents such as M. tuberculosis. Without high-quality ventilation in health care facilities, patients, health care workers, and visitors can become exposed to contaminants through normal respiration of particles in the air. Poorly ventilated health care facilities may increase the concentration of airborne contaminants including fungi or mold, which may cause allergic responses in even healthy workers and occupants. Some patients are profoundly immunosuppressed for prolonged periods and if exposed, are highly susceptible to infection from fungi. For such patients, fungal spores become invasive pathogens and lead to high rates of severe morbidity and mortality. For all these reasons, and considering the various occupancies and patient populations, great care must be taken in the design of health care ventilation systems.

(Standard 170-2013 -including all issued addenda- is incorporated into the 2014 edition of the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities with the exception of Section 4.1 and Section 4.2.)

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ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170 is under continuous maintenance by SSPC 170 for which the Standards Committee has established a documented program for regular publication of addenda or revisions.

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    Revised Date:
    January 22, 2016

  • This standard is jointly sponsored with ASHE


    Upcoming Meetings:
    ASHRAE Meeting,
    San Antonio
    June 26, 2012

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