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What’s in a Name: Cleanroom vs. Healthcare Ceiling Panels

Cleanroom and healthcare ceiling panels have many similarities, and often the question is raised: what’s the difference? Although their variations may seem insignificant, it’s important to know the specific applications of both cleanroom and healthcare ceiling panels to ensure that the benefits of each are used to their fullest potential.

Cleanroom and Healthcare, Defined

Some cleanroom panels can be used in a healthcare setting, but not every cleanroom panel has a healthcare designation and vice-versa. Defining each type of ceiling panel is the first step towards demystifying these building materials.

Outfitting a healthcare environment has many factors and challenges that must be considered. Privacy, cleanliness, and comfort are among the qualities that must be addressed when selecting the right products to meet the demands of healthcare facilities. On the other hand, a cleanroom refers to an enclosed room that has been specially constructed to control the quantity of airborne particles within it.

Cleanrooms are designed to limit the generation or introduction of contaminants, such as dust, while also controlling the temperature, humidity, pressure, and other contributing factors within an enclosed environment. While you could very likely find a cleanroom within a healthcare facility, the building materials specified within it must have the cleanroom designation in addition to healthcare.

Cleanroom Panel Attributes

As you may have gleaned by now, a cleanroom has very particular requirements that need to be met, with air filtration being one of its most integral aspects.

Industries such as aerospace, microelectronics, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food, and healthcare all benefit from cleanroom designations. These designations are defined and controlled by the International Standards ISO 14644 containing multiple levels of airborne particulate cleanliness. The number of particles in a cleanroom are measured in microns (on a scale of 0.1 microns to 5 microns) and classified by 9 levels, with ISO Class 1 being the cleanest.

Cleanroom filters are designed to filter out particulates to reach certain particulate levels. Most cleanrooms are held in positive pressure, which forces airflow out of the cleanroom, preventing air particulates from entering. This pressure differential prevents outside contaminants and particles from moving into the room, which is essential to the cleanliness of the cleanroom. To accompany cleanroom filters, cleanroom panels will often feature vinyl-laminated faces with sealed backs and edges specifically designed to limit the release of airborne particles into a space.

Healthcare Panel Attributes

Healthcare panels are a bit more utilitarian in their design, at least in comparison to that of cleanroom panels, but they are still a crucial element in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. As high-performance building materials that prioritize acoustics, safety, and cleanliness, healthcare panels place patient healing at the center of design.

Similar to cleanrooms, safe and sterile surroundings are an integral part of healthcare environments. Panels that meet standards for cleanliness, anti-mold, anti-microbial, fire safety, and seismic requirements are imperative when it comes to the overall safety requirements of a healthcare facility.

Noise pollution can affect patients through sleep disruption, annoyance, and elevated blood pressure among other effects. These issues can have a real impact on a patient’s healing process and can lead to rehospitalization in some cases. Selecting the correct healthcare ceiling panels that offer a combination of sound absorption and sound blocking for improved privacy ensures an environment that facilitates healing for patients and limits unnecessary stress for guests and staff alike.

Choosing the Right Panel

USG understands the importance of healthcare and cleanroom qualifications and how crucial building materials are to achieve their standards. By having this understanding, USG is able to utilize the innovative techniques of over 1,200 years of employee experience at our Corporate Innovation Center to develop high-performance ceiling panels for cleanroom and healthcare.

This commitment to innovation has enabled the development of Clean Room™ Acoustical Panels and Lay-In Gypsum Panels in addition to the wide range of Healthcare ceiling solutions made available to our customers.

If you or your customers are looking to build and maintain a cleanroom or healthcare environment through USG, be sure to submit a proposal here.