Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Hospital Ventilation System Receives Innovative Upgrade

Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Hospital Ventilation System Receives Innovative Upgrade

Article excerpt

St. Thomas West Hospital, Nashville, Tenn., wanted to retrofit its outdated HVAC exhaust air system to cut energy use and improve indoor air quality.

But limited indoor space and the expected disruption to the facility loomed as serious challenges if it used traditional duct materials and design for its project. So, instead of installing space-consuming and more costly conventional sheet metal ductwork, a return air distribution system constructed of acoustical panels was installed on the hospital's exterior.

The result is three HVAC exhaust air distribution risers that ascend on three sides of the hospital's seven-story K Tower's exterior to new rooftop energy-recovery ventilators (ERVs).

The risers blend in seamlessly with the hospital's facade to make them undetectable to passersby. The panels' custom, factory powder-coated sandalwood color matches the building's exterior and blends into the facade's exterior.

In addition, the system has enabled the hospital to become part of a growing trend to recover cooled or heated exhaust air and use it to more efficiently cool or heat the outdoor air entering a health care facility.

As with other hospitals with 1970s-era HVAC design strategies, return air at St. …

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