The Fauber File
- Principal, HEAPY, Dayton, Ohio.
- Engineering and digital strategy manager, HEAPY.
- Senior mechanical engineer, HEAPY.
- ASHRAE member.
- Committee chair, ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities.
- Voting member, ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 189.3, Design, Construction, and Operation of Sustainable High-Performance Health Care Facilities.
- Consulting-Specifying Engineer “40 Under 40” winner.
- Certified GeoExchange Designer.
- Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, University of Dayton.
Jeremy Fauber, PE, CGD, LEED AP BD+C, shares lessons learned from a career in sustainable design and as the committee chair of Standard 170, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities, developed by ASHRAE in collaboration with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE).
When and how did you first start working on health care facilities projects?
When I first started in the building construction industry as a mechanical/HVAC designer, most of the projects I was involved with were schools, though there were a few projects at health care facilities mixed in. After about five years, the design team I worked on started to focus specifically on health care facilities. One of the first projects I worked on was a free-standing emergency department and imaging facility with 10 24-hour beds in what ended up being the first LEED Gold-certified hospital in Ohio.
Following that, I started to work in larger facilities where we could develop relationships with members of the facilities group and work alongside them to improve their facilities. It was especially rewarding to be able to work on large additions that would allow the facility to adapt to and thrive in the ever-evolving health care market. Another one of my more memorable projects was a hospital and medical office building constructed up the road from my house. For me, a project in your own neighborhood has a special significance, and it is great to be able to drive by it on a daily basis.
How did you get your start with the committee for ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170 and, later, become its chair?
Shortly after joining the engineering, sustainability and commissioning firm HEAPY, I joined ASHRAE and started attending local chapter meetings and became an officer in the local chapter. A few years after that, I had the opportunity to get involved at the society level of ASHRAE, so I dove right in by attending all the health care-specific ASHRAE groups I could: Technical Committee 9.6, Healthcare Facilities; the ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170 committee; the committee for ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 189.3, Design, Construction, and Operation of Sustainable High-Performance Health Care Facilities; and a special project committee that was writing the second edition of the HVAC Design Manual for Hospitals and Clinics.
My involvement started shortly after the publication of the 2008 version of ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170, and by attending those meetings, I was able to learn ASHRAE’s process for standards. After going to meetings for a few years and showing a willingness to help, I was asked to become a non-voting member of the committee, and soon after that I was asked to become a voting member of the committee. The entire ASHRAE process is built around including different stakeholders, such as designers, owners, codes officials, manufacturers and, in the case of health care facilities, infection control specialists. There is an emphasis on sharing different perspectives and building consensus toward improvements in the standard.
What updates are planned for the 2025 version of the standard?
ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170 is under continuous maintenance, which means that during our revision cycle we put out addenda that each cover a discrete change to the standard. Once an addendum has completed all the necessary steps for publication, it becomes available for immediate use. The standard already has one significant addendum published, which provides the minimum requirements on how to apply natural ventilation at health care facilities. Another addendum that the committee is working on includes revisions and clarity to the minimum requirements for resiliency/redundancy regarding cooling and heating plants in health care facilities. These changes are appropriate in light of recent natural disasters such as the extreme cold snap in Texas in February 2021.
The committee is also considering what should be integrated into the standard based on insight gleaned from the last several years contending with COVID-19. ASHRAE had an epidemic task force that provided guidance for different building types, including health care facilities, to help them adapt to pandemic conditions. The Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) also produced the white paper “Guidance for Designing Health and Residential Care Facilities that Respond and Adapt to Emergency Conditions,” which provided similar guidance. The ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170 committee is reviewing those documents to determine what should be a minimum requirement rather than simply a recommendation. We also have a group working on a guideline to provide guidance on the operation of health care facilities. This will be a separate document developed by our group.
How are trends in sustainability and decarbonization impacting the content of ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170?
The natural ventilation addendum I mentioned previously is an example of how ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170 is adding content to help with sustainability and decarbonization. The committee needs to continue to look for opportunities. While a focus on providing an environment that will be protective of staff and patients is at the heart of each of our discussions, the committee is also aware of the dynamic tension that objective can have with sustainability and decarbonization because many of our requirements have an impact on energy usage and embodied carbon. One of the most important efforts that will help our committee is deeper research and greater understanding of the environmental conditions that allow health care facilities and staff to succeed at their mission.
How has the approach to developing the 2025 version of the standard been different from previous revision cycles?
The current cycle will look a lot closer to the 2013 cycle than the last two revision cycles from 2017 and 2021. The committee spent much of their efforts during the last two revision cycles focusing on updating the standard to align with FGI changes. There are now sections focused on inpatient hospitals, outpatient facilities, and residential health care and support facilities to align with FGI Guidelines. Now that the effort has been completed and published in the 2021 standard, the committee is focused on providing clarity to the document and continuing to stay aligned with FGI and the upcoming changes for its 2026 revision cycle.
Additionally, now that the ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170 has been published and referenced for over a decade, we see more interpretation requests on how to apply the standard. This helps the committee provide feedback on areas that need greater clarity for the users.
What would you like health care facilities professionals to know about the ASHRAE standards development process?
They should know that anyone can be involved in the process, and greater involvement is easier and more accessible than ever. One way to be involved is to provide public comments of addenda that are out for public review. All ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170 addenda must go out for 30- or 45-day public review to allow those that would be impacted by these changes to have a voice in the process; both supportive and critical feedback of the proposed changes is helpful and seriously considered by the committee.
The pandemic accelerated some trends that were already underway in ASHRAE in that most of our committee meetings now have a virtual component open to anyone who wants to attend, not just ASHRAE members. This gives individuals the ability to hear what the committee is talking about, understand future changes to the standard and learn about the issues the committee is addressing.
Landon Hegedus is assistant editor of Health Facilities Management magazine.