and should therefore be considered. The use of computer modeling for assessing those factors in relation to heat loading, air diffusion patterns, and particulate movement may be helpful in optimizing ventilation of micro-and macroenvironments (Hughes and Reynolds 1995).
Direct exposure of animals to air moving at high velocity (drafts) should be avoided as the speed of air to which animals are exposed affects the rate at which heat and moisture are removed from an animal. For example, air at 20°C moving at 60 linear feet per minute (18.3 m/min) has a cooling effect of approximately 7°C (Weihe 1971). Drafts can be particularly problematic for neonatal homeotherms (which may be hairless and have poorly developed mechanisms for thermoregulatory control), for mutants lacking fur, and for semiaquatic amphibians that can desiccate.
Provision of 10 to 15 fresh air changes per hour in animal housing rooms is an acceptable guideline to maintain macroenvironmental air quality by constant volume systems and may also ensure microenvironmental air quality. Although this range is effective in many animal housing settings, it does not take into account the range of possible heat loads; the species, size, and number of animals involved; the type of primary enclosure and bedding; the frequency of cage changing; the room dimensions; or the efficiency of air distribution both in the macroenvironment and between the macro- and microenvironments. In some situations, the use of such a broad guideline might overventilate a macroenvironment containing few animals, thereby wasting energy, or underventilate a microenvironment containing many animals, allowing heat, moisture, and pollutants to accumulate.
Modern heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems (e.g., variable air volume, or VAV, systems) allow ventilation rates to be set in accordance with heat load and other variables. These systems offer considerable advantages with respect to flexibility and energy conservation, but should always provide a minimum amount of air exchange, as recommended for general use laboratories (Bell 2008; DiBerardinis et al. 2009).
Individually ventilated cages (IVCs) and other types of specialized primary enclosures, that either directly ventilate the enclosure using filtered room air or are ventilated independently of the room, can effectively address animals’ ventilation requirements without the need to increase macroenvironmental ventilation. However, cautions mentioned above regarding highvelocity air should be considered (Baumans et al. 2002; Krohn et al. 2003). Nevertheless, the macroenvironment should be ventilated sufficiently to address heat loads, particulates, odors, and waste gases released from primary enclosures (Lipman 1993).
If ventilated primary enclosures have adequate filtration to address contamination risks, air exhausted from the microenvironment may be returned to the room in which animals are housed, although it is generally prefer-