Hospitals have a problematic combination of varying internal temperature, air pressure, and humidity level requirements that can result in the accumulation of condensation. Condensation is a reaction that occurs when water vapor converts into liquid on surfaces due to a difference in temperature between the air and a contact surface, such as windows. The high humidity levels of hospitals are necessary for maintaining optimal moisture level in patients’ body tissues for healing, but this introduction of moisture into the air leads to more water vapor.
Increased water vapor in the atmosphere of hospitals is a concern because it means more opportunity for it to accumulate into condensation on cold surfaces. Windows are one of the most common surfaces for condensation. The glass and frame lose heat because of their proximity to cold outdoor temperatures. Hospital buildings are generally constructed with glass curtain wall, an outer non-structural façade. This high number of windows combined with internal humidity can make condensation a major issue in hospitals. Over time, excessive condensation can cause mold and degradation of window frames and even the building structure.
What can hospitals do to reduce condensation on windows?
Improving the thermal performance of windows will reduce the heat loss that contributes to condensation. By making windows more insulated, their surface temperature won’t be as cold from heat loss. This reduces the formation of condensation since the temperature from the window will be closer to the room temperature.
What windows are best for hospitals?
Not all windows are created equally in terms of condensation resistance. Hospitals should select windows with a high condensation resistance (CR) rating by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). Factors, such as a window’s thermal conductivity, are measured against simulations of varying humidity levels and temperatures to determine how well they prevent condensation. CR ratings are from 0 to 100, with anything above 50 being considered optimal by the NFRC.
Thermolite’s curtain wall window retrofit systems have been tested to CR ratings from 56 for our standard product to 68 for our premium RetroWAL™ Gold Series secondary window system. To put these findings into perspective, a basic curtain wall has a condensation resistance rating of 15. The best option for hospitals to eliminate much of their window condensation is with secondary interior window retrofits, rather than replacement windows that may be cost-prohibitive and difficult to install.
Window retrofits install on the interior of existing windows and improve their thermal performance by at least two times. This occurs because the secondary interior window creates an air gap that acts as a barrier to prevent heat loss. The interior installation is so quick and simple, it can be performed in house if desired without the need for expensive installation fees. A Do It Yourself installation is a major benefit because it allows building owners to install the window retrofits at times that are least disruptive to staff and patients.
Secondary windows also address other common issues affecting hospitals. These include:
• Sound control – our window retrofits use laminated glass that reduces noise levels and perform at a sound transmission control (STC) rating of 49.
• Energy costs – there is great demand on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in hospitals to maintain the varying temperature levels for different areas of the hospital, which can lead to high utility costs. Thermolite’s window system has been found to reduce energy costs by 20%.
Request more information about our secondary windows for hospitals – contact us today.
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The Thermolite engineering staff is an innovative structural, energy modelling, and implementation team that works to create unique window systems alternatives to traditional replacement windows. Our systems protect against blasts, hurricanes, and sound, while being energy efficient and quick and easy to install. We serve a wide range of industry buildings including government, military, historical, schools and universities, financial, health care, hospitality, and offices. Contact us today to learn how we could update your building’s window systems.