What is the ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE 189.3 Standard?

Tip #20

By Doug Fick, PE, PMP, LEED BD+C, CMTA

I distinctly remember how excited I was when I walked into a specific ASHRAE meeting in Salt Lake City, summer of 2008. The meeting's purpose was to see if there was any interest in creating a new standard to define sustainable health care. After observing the assembly of health care leaders sitting around the conference table, I was optimistic this document would make an impact. The new, comprehensive standard would provide minimum documentation so desired by the engineering community to address site, water, energy, material and operations.

A lot has changed since that summer meeting, from the standard number changing to 189.3 and first issuance in 2017 to the parent document 189.1 integrating into the International Green Construction Code® (IgCC). The committee is working hard toward its next publication of the document in the spring of 2021.

The document has a proven track record of beneficially defining the minimum sustainability level of a health care facility. Written in code language, and simple to adopt in whole or in part, the form assists governments with this minimum definition. It also lends itself to be adopted by a health care system or facility. The committee has been pleased to know that Indiana University Health located in Indianapolis uses the document as the minimum for its design and construction activities. The consultants and contractors working on the project are familiar with code language understand the requirements. Committee members are working with the consultant and health care system who provide input and actionable data and insight on the standard and its adoption issues. Thanks to the upcoming publication of the document's latest addition, the committee will have some time to contemplate the future of sustainable health care.

Some may ask what features or policies a building should include to reflect the improvements in technology or knowledge. An excellent example of such a feature is the application of renewables in a health care facility. 

Due to space limitations in 2012, it was widely agreed that helistops, roof exhaust fans, elevator towers, a host of other issues, and the high energy usage made the required installation of a sustainable energy source prohibitive. In a recent addendum, that same exemption was removed from the document, as it does not reflect the current situation.

In preparation for the 2017 document, the committee added a chapter to address emission effluent and pollution control. The chapter addressed minimum yet key operating issues generally unique to hospitals, such as areas like radiology, pharmacy and hazardous waste. 

In the next three years, what should be added to the document to reflect progress in a sustainable facility? Health care facilities have vehicles, food service and numerous other areas where sustainable measures can be easily implemented.


About the Author

Doug FickDoug Fick, PE, PMP, LEED BD+C, CMTA
A senior mechanical engineer at CMTA’s Indianapolis office, Doug Fick’s 27 years’ worth of expertise lies in health care and higher education design. He has had the privilege of designing several health care projects of varying sizes, scope and complexity throughout his professional career, including chilled water facilities, surgery expansions and patient tower renovations.

Mr. Fick’s proven dependability and wisdom continues to be instrumental, involving the successes of projects including the Johnson Memorial Emergency Department and numerous Indiana University Health projects.

Mr. Fick’s professional and societal involvement as current chair of ASHRAE 189.3 and member of ASHRAE Region V ARC keeps him ahead of the curve in technology and facility advancements and assists him leading the engineering team to sustainable and high-performing projects.

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