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Tuesday
Jun162015

Best Practices: Air Quality Industry Standards for Fitness Facilities

FRED HOFFMAN
OWNER
FITNESS RESOURCES
PARIS, FRANCE 

Standards on air quality are often predicated on local building codes, and, as a result, differ from state to state and country to country.

Health clubs present a particular challenge, requiring operators to maintain adequate ventilation, and, at times, separate air temperatures and relative humidity levels, in a variety of spaces, at different times throughout the day, with groups of varying sizes engaged in a wide range of activities.

However, there are several research publications you may find useful. ACSM’s Health/Fitness Facility Standards and Guidelines suggests standards for the design and construction of health clubs and for maintaining appropriate air quality in all areas of a facility. ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, offers The Indoor Air Quality Guide, which focuses on larger buildings.

When considering air quality, you need to keep a number of factors in mind, including room size and ceiling height; the activities taking place in the space, and the number of occupants; the number of recommended exchanges per hour; the need for fresh and recycled air; ideal temperatures and condensation; the CO2 level; pollutants; green ramifications; and preventive maintenance.

Whether you’re building a new facility or renovating an existing one, to ensure a comfortable, healthy, and safe environment, you should hire a qualified mechanical engineer who can design an HVAC system that will meet all of your club’s—and your members’—needs.

HERVEY LAVOIE
ARCHITECT AND PRESIDENT
OHLSON LAVOIE COLLABORATIVE
DENVER, COLORADO 

Currently, no government agency has published specific standards with respect to the air quality in health clubs or other types of fitness facilities.

The matter of air quality in buildings is a rather general subject, which is addressed in a variety of building codes, as well as in the comprehensive guidelines published by ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. These standards are very prescriptive in nature, and pretty much determine what any indoor air-conditioning system designed by a professional engineer is going to be like. The ASHRAE standards are applicable to all but the smallest of facilities.

In addition, there are a series of emerging standards that, increasingly, are being applied to the human built environment. These LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards define and describe products, systems, and practices that are related to sustainable or “green” designs. The measures they outline are widely circulated: just Google “LEED Indoor Air Quality” or check out the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) scorecard at usgbc.org.

These guidelines can easily be applied to an athletic club or fitness center. Complying with these standards, even if you don’t intend to seek an official LEED certification, will give you a well-documented defense against any claim for damages by litigious individuals who may claim that your building—or the air in it—is making them sick.

Reader Comments (1)

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August 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFitness center

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