Probably a year before 9/11, I was asked my thoughts along the lines of, “What else should we commission beyond the standard building systems?” My client was the project engineer at the Department of Defense in the Pentagon. I suggested “commission project record drawings.” I guess you could say I made up the task of commissioning record drawings, but I got my point across.
Hospitals in the U.S., already facing daunting challenges from evolving health care reimbursement models, now have another item on their to-do list: prepare for increased health care demands and weather disasters caused by climate change.
More specifically, has natural gas been overlooked? Let’s take a look at some previous habits and code language, current needs, and the advantages that a CHP system can provide for those exceedingly regulated of all environments: hospitals.
Emergency generators are required in many applications where facility operations are to continue to perform even upon a failure of the electric grid. The best resources for quantifying the emergency generation classifications, capacities, installation, maintenance, and operational testing requirements are the building codes and federal regulations.
It might seem like an odd objective, but the potential efficiency gains are real. And from heat recovery chillers to modified humidification targets so are the opportunities to replace steam production with hot water generation and to manage remaining steam needs more intelligently.
The production of thermal power is critically important in carrying out the mission of health care facilities where it is used for space heating, humidification, domestic water heating, and for processes in dietary, laundry, and sterilization departments. The age of the hospital, the programs offered, and the regional climate will all affect the demand for thermal power.
Look at not only some nearly automatic benefits-in-waiting for your average hospital boiler retrofit, but also at some ideas for what to do if there isn’t budget for a full replacement. Meanwhile, a short laundry list of hospital-specific boiler considerations actually includes the laundry (but not how you might expect).
The assortment of standards, variety of technologies, and evolving weather patterns don’t make it simple. However, humidification and dehumidification strategies that suit the facility’s location and address some spaces’ specialized demands are worth the effort.
A pre-retrofit report card helped this major Chicago health care facility chart a smart course of treatment for its HVAC. After improvements for chillers, cooling towers, refrigerants, pumps, and more, the hospital’s central plant upgrade now looks forward to long-term savings, cleaner operations with streamlined maintenance, and better reliability.
Many engineers tend to avoid or delegate the nitty gritty of a ground source heat pump system, from soil moisture effects to building system (im) balance. It's time for designers to get in the loop. Learn more about Grounded In Reality in the December issue. Other topics in the December issue include health care HVAC, Boilders, check out the Back2Basics, and more.