Air-Curtain/Awning Combination Prevents Flying-Insect Infiltration, Energy Losses

Feb. 1, 2011
Also provides rain shelter and enhances aesthetics

One of 35 buildings on the campus of Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Hampton, Va., the 8,000-sq-ft, 110-year-old Canteen Service Building (CSB) has an entrance with conventional double glass doors. When the medical center retired two 20-year-old Berner International air curtains that protected the entrance, the maintenance team conceived an air-curtain-and-awning combination.

Berner custom-designed two gray powder-coated awnings for two 72-in.-wide Model VSA air curtains for two 6-ft-by-8-ft plenum-port openings. Extending approximately 18 in. from the building's exterior, the awning/air curtains prevent flying-insect infiltration and energy losses. An air curtain mounted inside of the shipping door of the building's back kitchen also prevents insect infiltration.

"Keeping flies out of a medical building is just part of our high standards for sanitation here," Stuart Gupton, HVAC work leader, Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said, adding, "We've never had a complaint of flies in the CSB."

The awning/air curtains also keep patrons dry during rainstorms and complement building aesthetics.

Berner's engineers determined wind-load effects and size so air intake, which is critical to the prevention of flying-insect infiltration, would not be restricted. A screen across the bottom of the awnings prevents bird nesting.

The maintenance staff added an anticorrosive coating because of the salt-laden air of the facility's Chesapeake Bay waterfront location.

"Any outdoor metal in this coastal area has its life cycle reduced by 20 percent because of the ocean salt," Gupton said.

The 68-acre complex has more than 15 air curtains in a variety of models for various applications, including spot-heating of doorways. A high-style Mark II unit powder-coated white is installed at the emergency-room entrance.

"We buy air curtains that have a proven track record for requiring little or no maintenance throughout their entire life (cycle)," Gupton said.

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