Butaro District Hospital

Butaro Hospital

Project: Butaro District Hospital, Butaro, Rwanda

Firm: MASS Design Group

Product: Seven Isis® fans

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“Using Big Ass Fans allows us to have only one or two fans per ward, running them at speeds low enough that they will not make people feel cold—without compromising the volume of air movement, which is the most important factor in preventing disease transmission.”

Garret Gantner
MASS Design Group

Project Summary

Butaro, located in the mountainous northern region of Rwanda, is not even on the electrical grid. Regardless, a new health clinic, created in partnership with the Government of Rwanda, Ministry of Health, Partners in Health and the Clinton Foundation, opened in 2011. This six-ward clinic, built of masonry and steel, is designed to reduce the spread of tuberculosis, which is rampant in African clinics. Architects utilized ventilation to kill the airborne pathogens associated with such diseases. Included in the design are outdoor walkways, alfresco waiting rooms, and large windows strategically placed on opposing walls to aid in air circulation. To aid the natural ventilation, Big Ass Fans® were installed to pass the air over UV lights, killing airborne pathogens.

A total of seven Isis® fans were integrated into the clinic to efficiently ventilate the space and optimize airflow rates using a low volume of energy. “Using Big Ass Fans allows us to have only one or two fans per ward, running them at speeds low enough that they will not make people feel cold,” said Garret Gantner, project architect with the MASS Group. The fans operate silently without compromising the volume of air movement, “which is the most important factor in preventing disease transmission,” Gantner explained. Opened with generator power, once the electrical grid is operable, the clinic will run the fans 24-hours a day, providing the optimal number of air turnovers without disrupting the comfort of patients and staff. “One added bonus was watching the bewilderment of the site crew as the first fan was being assembled; some people thought we were trying to build a helicopter,” said Gartner.

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