Exempla Healthcare of Colorado is a quality, low-cost provider of health care services, ranging from standard inpatient to wellness education and primary physician care. Lutheran Medical Center (LMC) in Wheat Ridge, St. Joseph's Hospital in Denver, the Colorado Lutheran Home, West Pines, and several other facilities make up the principal care centers.

LMC serves the Denver metro area with a total of 489 beds and over 10 buildings, and was voted one of the top 100 hospitals in the nation. This Exempla facility has the most extensive bas integration of any Exempla campus. With the latest Andover Controls (Andover, MA) upgrades and expansions, all of the buildings continue to realize new efficiencies and capabilities.

Before the Andover system, controls were awkward and time-consuming. In just one area - response time - maintenance hours were quite significant. Rick Kinney, technical coordinator, plant utilities for Exempla, said; "We responded fairly quickly, but a typical room call averaged 30 to 40 minutes for a full check of calibrations, room temperatures, and functions."

LMC began using Andover Controls products in 1983, and after success with earlier generations, in 1999 it used Andover Controls newest product line - Continuum(tm) - to unify access and photo-badge control. Westover Controls, the local Andover representative, continues to work with Kinney to support Exempla as it makes the transition to Continuum products, increases the scope of operations controlled by Andover, and expands into new buildings.

The 80-acre LMC campus uses an Andover Controls system for close to 1.5 million sq ft and over 6,500 points. It has over 600 standalone controllers (terminal, system, and access), all integrated through the hospital's 100-mb Ethernet with CAT5 and fiber for short and long runs, respectively. Maintenance is standardized on Windows NT.

Comprehensive systems control is delivered by eight new Continuum CyberStations. This software is backward compatible, which will integrate the Infinity and its five PCs on various Exempla campuses and accesses any point on any campus via the local Ethernet and system WAN. Continuum enables the seamless integration of hvac and access control. Exempla's maintenance staff can monitor and control any system on the Andover System - hvac, security, power backup, etc. - from one screen.

Operation-to-0peration temperature changes

As with any hospital, LMC has rooms that require precise environmental control of negative or positive air pressure, temperature, and humidity. For example, operating room environments must quickly change during an operation and from operation to operation. "One minute they could have a heart case and they want the room at 60 degrees F. Then, during recovery, they want 80 degrees ," Kinney explains.

The operating room staff can create ideal conditions with one button that accesses preprogrammed conditions previously specified by the OR team. "They sit down with us and give parameters. It's all been engineered to function that way. They simply use a keypad with a display for temperature and humidity," says Kinney.

According to Kinney, the bas is delivering powerful benefits in every area. The savings have been impressive in manpower alone. "The vav controllers have been very beneficial. In the emergency department alone, in a six-month period, we logged 1,500 service calls. Out of these, probably 90% were nuisance calls that took 30 to 40 minutes of manpower each."

He notes that there are now 50% fewer calls and that his team can now respond without making the trip to the user as was normally required. "That's quite a bit of savings," says Kinney.

A future of cost reduction and control

As part of a 10-year growth planning process, Exempla engaged HRE Inc. and H&L Architects, both located in Denver, to assess the hvac and bas performance at LMC and St. Joseph's Hospital. The firms looked at five years of historical data and found that Andover Controls' solutions enable tremendous savings; LMC has such a reduction in energy usage that Andover equipment has paid for itself in only two to three years. In addition, with 50% cuts in nuisance calls and the ability to solve problems without going to the problem site, the manpower savings have also been dramatic.

Exempla currently is upgrading all Andover systems to Continuum. It also plans to expand Andover technology into many new areas including hvac control at St. Joseph's Hospital, lighting control at LMC, and many new additions.

"We're a nonprofit organization," stresses Kinney. "If we don't make a savings, we don't get upgrades. We don't expand our services. Everything that we make goes right back into our facilities, and we also pass that cost savings on to the consumers."ES