The answer to that question is a resounding “yes.” In fact, hospitals can make use of air curtains in a wide variety of scenarios. A widespread deployment could cover everything from loading dock doors to kitchen entrances to even the emergency room. They can help with comfort, it’s true — but for hospitals, there are larger and more mission-critical benefits to consider beyond the basics. Consider how a hospital, existing or planned, could take full advantage of this innovate technology.
More Effectively Manage a Hospital’s Challenging Energy Demands
Heating and cooling costs account for a huge percentage of the annual energy spend in most homes and businesses, and hospitals are no different. Whether it is a smaller rural facility or a high-rise urban hospital, the HVAC equipment necessary for maintaining comfortable and clean air is substantial. All this equipment translates into a large portion of every hospital’s budget. At such a large scale, even small changes can have a ripple effect that ultimately impacts monthly expenditures.
An air curtain’s primary function is to use a fast-moving yet gentle stream of air to create an effective environmental separation between two zones. Affixing air curtains above exterior entrances to the hospital, therefore, can help to keep outside air from displacing cooler indoor air treated by the building HVAC systems. Air curtains come in a variety of sizes, large enough to accept deliveries at the back and small enough to cover private entrances.
One of the most common uses, however, is in combination with a vestibule. Adding an air curtain to an existing vestibule contributes to energy savings, but also provides an effective barrier against outside odors and fumes. For example, in a hospital case study produced by air curtain manufacturer Berner International, hardware installed over the vestibule aided in putting an end to unwanted and unpleasant vehicle fumes entering reception and emergency room areas. According to the case study, the added energy savings benefits also contributed to an average repayment of the investment in just two years.
Use Specialized Air Curtains to Protect Critical Areas
Energy savings are of paramount importance, not only for protecting the environment, but for saving money, too. However, this is not all air curtains can do for hospitals. The latest technological innovations unlock even more applications. For example, manufacturer Mars Air has recently introduced a range of products aimed at sensitive work environments, including hospitals. These include air curtains with high-grade HEPAC filters and blue-light or UVC technology.
HEPAC filters are extremely well-regarded in their ability to trap and stop contaminants in the air and can aid in halting the transmission of airborne diseases. Likewise, air curtains equipped with UVC technology use a powerful ultraviolet light inside the unit to destroy many of the most common infectious agents that you can find in the air. In hospitals, where preventing secondary infections in patients is critical, these tools can help to create a safer environment even deep within the hospital.
Consider some of the possible uses. HEPAC filters equipped air curtains could be installed over doors to wings of the hospital where cleanliness is even more critical, while UVC air curtains could be used near surgeries, labs, and other vital areas. While air curtains on exterior doors can help to protect your organization from excessive utility bills, interior curtains such as these aid in protecting people.
Maintain Hygienic Environments in Food Prep and Loading Areas
Building on that idea is one final important fact about air curtains: while the air feels like a gentle breeze to the people walking through it, it’s an insurmountable obstacle for flying insects such as mosquitoes and flies. Hospitals often have challenging food prep needs to meet, as hundreds of patients require multiple meals every day. Kitchen staff already have a difficult job without adding “exterminator” to the list — but it’s crucial to keep these flying insects out of these spaces. Using an air curtain can help to stop troublesome infestations before they begin while freeing up valuable time and resources for refocusing on the kitchen’s requirements. From the large-scale energy needs of the hospital to the small-scale daily tasks, it should be clear that air curtains can have an important role to play in many areas. ... // By Dana Agens