by Brianna Crandall — December 7, 2020 — As many communities are setting up alternative care sites with additional hospital beds in response to spikes in COVID-19, the Epidemic Task Force of global building technology society ASHRAE recently announced the availability of the Alternate Care Site HVAC Guidebook, which was developed by the ASHRAE Alternate Care Sites Task Force.
The task force was convened upon the request to the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide engineering recommendations, solutions, and guidance to address the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems for alternative care sites.
ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force healthcare team member David Eldridge, PE, BEAP, BEMP, HBDP, GGA, LEED AP, and Alexander Zhivov, Ph.D., FASHRAE, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineer Research and Development Center, co-chaired the ASHRAE Alternate Care Sites Task Force.
Our work over several months has resulted in a guidebook that will be useful in current and future efforts to address the demand for additional hospital beds in combatting COVID-19. This has been a collaborative initiative from the start and we want to thank the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as military and private engineering experts who came together to develop this timely resource.
This guide was developed in response to the growing need for flexible patient care space to be deployed in locations where permanent hospital beds are insufficient for the number of COVID-19 positive patients needing care. The guidebook provides recommendations for applying standards which are used for permanent facilities to temporary sites under less than ideal conditions or with time, budget and technical feasibility constraints.
The Alternate Care Site HVAC Guidebook is primarily applicable to host sites with large open spaces such as convention centers and other large spaces. It is also applicable to the conversion of smaller facilities with open areas such as school gymnasiums.
Specific recommendations include guidance for design requirements, air flow, filtration, space conditions and methodology for identifying which mechanical system approaches may be pursued knowing that most alternative care sites must prioritize certain features due to limited time, budget, and site characteristics.