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P396: Balancing ventilation and energy use in hospitals: a case study of bioaerosol transport in healthcare environments

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Introduction

Hospitals are among the most energy intensive buildings in industrialized countries, using more than two-thirds of total energy consumption to maintain climate control and indoor air quality (IAQ). Yet, hospital acquired infections (HAIs) afflict approximately 8% of the in-patient population and claim more than 115,000 lives each year in Europe and the U.S. alone.

Methods

A series of 4 tests were conducted in an actual hospital to observe removal rates and containment of synthetic bioaerosols with respect to air change rate, air pressure differential and door position in a general patient room, and, an isolation patient room.

Results

Air change rates were not found to be effective in proportionately reducing aerosol concentrations within patient rooms when the aerosol was continuously released. Specifically, increasing mechanical ventilation rates from 2.5 to 5.5 air changes per hour (ACH) reduced aerosol concentrations only 30% on average. An air pressure differential of 2.5Pa, however, was found to be effective in containing aerosol transport from patient rooms to adjacent corridors except in cases where isolation anterooms were negatively pressurized with respect to isolation spaces. Door position and door motion was also found to have a significant effect on aerosol containment.

Disclosure of interest

None declared

Author information

Correspondence to K Grosskopf.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Keywords

  • Total Energy Consumption
  • Ventilation Rate
  • Climate Control
  • General Patient
  • Healthcare Environment