Done right, going modular can be a good fit for hospitals in search of efficiency. From design to specification to pre-shipment, the process demands engineering attention to the right details at the right times. Get a designer’s notes from experience and learn how to take advantage of what a modular central plant can offer.
Sometimes, what seems like a need for more cooling capacity could be the need to take a hard look and fine-tune the existing chiller plant. With a hospital expansion coming up, the team on this UMass Memorial Health Care project avoided adding up to 120 tons of capacity with tactics that included attacking inefficiencies in piping, valves, cooling towers, and controls.
With a wide spectrum of specialized spaces and particular outside air requirements, a hospital’s en-ergy-efficiency efforts start when arranging which areas go where. From there, the author leaves no technology unturned — chilled beams, geothermal, DOAS, VRF, etc. — in evaluating which ap-proaches might best contribute proper ventilation and humidity in which environments, with an eye on minimizing facility energy consumption.
Today, commercial property owners and facility managers are constantly looking for ways to reduce their utility bills. An often over-looked opportunity arises when it is time to replace old, inefficient compressors in HVAC systems.
Leaning on experience and data from various K-12 cities and projects, the author pursues some less conventional design approaches. They may revolve around radiant heating and/or cooling, but depending on school size and other factors, the smart use of heat recovery, DOAS, and improved central plants could also put a project on the HVAC honor roll.