Butaro Hospital | Big Ass Fans
Butaro sector of Burera, Northern Province, Rwanda

Case Study: Butaro Hospital

Butaro Hospital with Isis
Butaro Hospital with Isis
Air movement is the most important factor in preventing disease transmission. Using Big Ass Fans allows us to have only one or two fans per ward, running at speeds low enough that they do not create drafts. Garret Ganter, Project Architect

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Architects of Butaro Hospital in northern Rwanda needed to figure out how to prevent the spread of airborne illnesses that run rampant in the region. Architecture firm MASS Design Group designed the hospital with abundant natural ventilation including outdoor walkways between the hospital’s six wards, open-air waiting rooms and large windows on opposing walls. However, they realized that air turnover through mechanical ventilation was key to reducing sickness – a tall order since the hospital wasn’t yet tied to any power grid.


Seven energy-efficient Isis® fans were installed to complement MASS Design Group’s cross-ventilation strategy, constantly moving air without drawing too much power from the clinic’s gas generators. The fans aid in general air movement as well as decontamination, circulating air over UV lights to kill airborne pathogens such as tuberculosis. Isis also moves at low speeds without generating a noticeable breeze, keeping patients, their families and hospital staff comfortable without feeling chilly.

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