In 2011, the Texas A&M Health Science Center faced a challenge many building owners encounter during construction of sterile and critical laboratory environments -controlling differential air pressure, or air pressure between adjacent rooms – to combat airborne contaminates.
Air pressure control has a bearing on several key performance aspects of a facility, including distribution of pollutants. And, each building has its own unique set of air pressure requirements. The institution’s new Vivarium facilities in Bryan, Texas, were no exception. The $60 million, four-story, approximately 131,000 square feet Medical Research and Education Building required extremely tight air control to maintain a sanitary environment within a space that included animal rooms and rodent holding rooms housed on separate floors. A fit-for-purpose air pressure control solution had to be quickly identified to meet a fast-track installation timeline.
Product Fulfills Facility’s Needs: The Solution
After assessing the facility’s operational needs and researching Apreco’s solutions along with the slide gate and other commercial dampers, the institution’s chief engineer and Shah Smith determined that the Apreco VARI centric® air pressure stabilizers were the best option. The stabilizers are compliant with key environmental and regulatory requirements, and designed for clean environments, such as operating rooms, isolation rooms and laboratories. In addition, the product’s balancing system controls the differential air pressure between adjacent rooms by closing its blades when the room’s pressure differential drops below the required level. This diverts airflow, forcing airborne contaminates out of the room without the need to alter the air extract or supply – a robust feature that further met the institution’s unique needs.
In November 2011, 30 stabilizers were installed along with perforated plate grille and light baffle box accessories that were chosen to keep rodents out of the cleanrooms. The product offered low-maintenance
design, easy-to-clean, removable blades, standard SteriTouch® anti-microbial protection, and quiet day-to-day operation.
Fast-Track, with Long-Term Results
The project, initiated September 2011, adhered to a fast-tracked installation that was completed during the winter holiday break.
The Apreco VARI centric® air pressure stabilizers not only created an overall improvement in pressure control, but also provided better control during a failure mode. Now, pressure can be stably maintained without reversed airflow for more than 15 minutes, which is 6 minutes longer than before.
The completed, successful installation met the institution’s mission to provide a learning environment equipped with state-of-the-art technology to meet increasing health professional training and education needs.
PHOTOS:(Image 1) The Texas A&M Health Science Center’s $60 million, four-story, approximately 131,000 square feet Medical Research and Education Building required extremely tight air control.
(Image 2) Apreco VARI centric® air pressure stabilizers control differential air pressure between adjacent rooms.
(Image 3) Perforated plate grille included among the accessories installed with VARI-centric® air pressure stabilizers to keep rodents out of Texas A&M Health Science Center cleanrooms.
(Image 4) Light baffle box installed with VARI-centric® air pressure stabilizers.