The Royal University Hospital (RUH) provides acute-care services for the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan region, serving as the main trauma center for the entire region and housing many maternal and child, neurosurgery, and cardiovascular surgery services.

Working with Johnson Controls, the hospital has invested CAD $13.6 million to provide critical facility upgrades that are predicted to save CAD $1.4 million per year while providing a healthier environment inside the hospital.

The 1.6 million-sq-ft facility was constructed in 1955, with a 1978 addition. In 2014, RUH entered an energy performance contract (EPC) with Johnson Controls aimed at facility improvements paid for over time by energy, water, and operational savings. With the approval of the Ministry of Health, the Region borrowed the funds to pay for the project, and the annual cost savings will be used to make those loan payments. Support from the Government of Saskatchewan was integral to the completion of the project.

Johnson Controls completed improvements in lighting, water use, building envelope, steam pipes and traps, hot water pumps along with speed drives and ventilation systems by June 2016, about five months ahead of schedule. Through measurement and verification, the initial savings are almost double the guaranteed amount. In just the first two reporting quarters, the total savings is CAD $899,192, exceeding the savings target guarantee by CAD $433,304 or 48.2%.

A team of Johnson Controls engineers, consultants, and contractors used energy analysis and on-site survey information to compile a detailed list of measures that would improve the energy consumption of the facility and mitigate the risk of managing aging infrastructure.

Working with hospital staff, they found examples of pumps that functioned all year long regardless of outside air temperatures, air handling systems that ran even when no one was in the area, and exhaust fans that continuously operated even when equipment was not in use. In addition, poor lighting made common areas look gloomy and dull.

Johnson Controls reviewed more than 16,000 lighting fixtures. They retrofitted lamps and ballasts of older light fixtures, as it was determined that keeping the existing fixtures with some adjustments offered the greatest savings opportunity with the least occupant impact. Additionally, incandescent or compact fluorescent lamps were replaced with long-life LED lamps.

Low-flow and more efficient toilets, faucets, showers, and urinal fixtures were installed to decrease water use by 60% and reduce the amount of water to be heated, resulting in both fuel and water savings.

For the building envelope, weather stripping or sealant was applied to doors and windows to help cut down on outside air infiltrating the building. The hospital also installed insulated covers on 325 portions of the steam distribution system to reduce wasted heat energy, making the system work less to meet the required temperature.

On the BAS side, the hospital connected occupancy sensors in an effort to reduce energy while certain areas of the campus — such as Hantelman and Ellis Hall -— are unoccupied overnight and on weekends. Upgraded digital controls are providing operators with better information to control the environment, such as adding schedules to the HVAC system.

All fans in the wards, general and operating room systems, were all at the end of their life cycle and were costing facilities management constant dollars to repair. The new fan systems provide redundancy capabilities that greatly enhance facility operations. For instance, instead of having just two fans in the operating room area, which caused shutdowns if one was not working, Johnson Controls installed a wall of 15 more efficient fans that provide backup.

Several steam traps were replaced in an effort to reduce losses and keep the system working efficiently to meet the required temperature, thus using less fuel.

Once all the improvements were installed, Johnson Controls worked to optimize and attain even more savings by looking at equipment schedules, fresh air intake, equipment sequencing, and other measures — always keeping patients and staff in mind.

“A large part of this project was the scheduling of time for when the contractors could perform their work,” said Brian Berzolla, director of facilities for Saskatoon Health Region. “The region’s capital planning and project management staff was instrumental in making sure that the right people were in the right place at the right time so that patients and staff were minimally impacted.

“The EPC allowed us to find dollars to do a whole pile of improvements and be paid back by the money we would have spent on utilities. We’re saving more money than was anticipated and making payments on the loan, but we have extra funds to go back into the hospital operations,” Berzolla continued.