Doorway air curtains are now approved as alternatives to vestibules on most commercial building entries in the upcoming American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 90.1-2019, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low Rise Residential Buildings.
The professional association’s approved addition requires the air curtain performance to be tested in accordance with ANSI/AMCA Standard 220, Laboratory Methods of Testing Air Curtain Units for Aerodynamic Performance Rating, to ensure it provides a minimum of 122-m (400-ft) per minute airstream velocity at the floor.
The approval will allow retail, healthcare, hospitality, office, and other facility owners opt to forego the expense of vestibules in new construction, or repurpose significant square footage for more productive uses by retrofitting existing vestibules.
Consulting engineers and architects, who were previously hesitant to supplant vestibules with air curtains due to inconsistent code language, now have the support of ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2019 which will be published this Fall. Further, HVAC contractors will see a spike in air curtain installations to accommodate facilities looking to prevent energy loss through their main entries and meet building codes. Air curtains also protect against the infiltration of outdoor air, fumes, flying insects, wind, and dust through open doorways, and contribute to occupant air comfort.