Ceiling Air Duct Ventilation
Ceiling Air Duct Ventilation

New Ventilation Standards for Health Care Facilities

Published October 12, 2021

Categories: Employees, Facilities Maintenance, Lab Support Services, Life Sciences


The past two years have been very challenging, especially for those in the life sciences and health care industries. These challenges have also extended to those who design, plan and maintain healthcare, laboratory, and residential care facilities.

Experts will continue to learn and develop new ways to protect the health and safety of those inside facilities. And studies have shown, even though things continue to change and evolve, maintaining high air quality and sanitary conditions continues to be the best way to control the transmission of an airborne virus and protect staff, residents, visitors and patients.

In order to provide additional guidance, ASHRAE has released an updated edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities. The Standard 170-2021 — Ventilation of Health Care Facilities offers healthcare facility managers guidance, regulation, and mandates to designers of health care facilities.

The 2021 edition delivers critical guidance for designers and operators 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
American Society Heating Refrigerating AC Engineers Logo

ASHRAE is a global professional society committed to serve humanity by advancing the arts and sciences of heating ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration and their allied fields. You can review and purchase the full Standard 170-2021 — Ventilation of Health Care Facilities (ANSI Approved; ASHE Co-sponsored) on the ASHRAE website.