A Healthcare Highlight from TBCo Birmingham

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Posted on May 03, 2021

Tom Barrow Company’s Birmingham branch has worked on many projects with healthcare facilities in the region, so when the team was contacted by Bernhard, the mechanical engineering firm for the East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) project, TBCo was ready for the challenge. Led by VP and Branch Manager, Jackie Laird, the team was tasked with adjusting operating room air conditions to meet the latest hospital standards at the EAMC Valley and Opelika locations.

EAMC’s current guidelines require that operating rooms maintain colder temperatures with low relative humidity in the space, requirements that typical air handling units may have difficulty meeting. To achieve the low grains of moisture necessary, TBCo Birmingham utilized Active Desiccant Technology with Nortek Air Solutions.

  • As the process outside air goes through, it cools down to a saturated condition with the chilled water coil (example 48.2/48.2 100%RH) before going through the desiccant wheel to wring out the moisture.
  • On the regeneration side, outside air is brought into the unit where the temperature is raised by a heat source - in this case a hot water coil.
  • The air is heated up from an ambient temperature of 96° to 131°, regenerating the desiccant so that it continuously draws out moisture from the process side.
  • After the process air leaves the wheel, it delivers 68.8/50.9 degree at 26.71 Grain/pound (24%RH).
  • This dried outside air can now be introduced into the back of an air handler.

East Alabama Medical Center will be using three of these units at their Valley and Opelika locations to condition the outside air before it is introduced to the air handling units, allowing them to achieve the space conditions needed inside their operating rooms.

The Birmingham team is always ready to address unique requirements with the best solutions in healthcare facility environments. The branch’s salespeople, most of whom have degrees in Mechanical Engineering, have over 30 years of combined experience in the commercial HVAC industry, specializing in healthcare, education, and data center markets.

Thank you to Bernhard, East Alabama Medical Center, and the entire project team for partnering with TBCo Birmingham on this important project!