energy-efficiency-engineering

Torey Spivey                        Project Manager

Healthcare facilities are one of the most energy-intensive facility types in the United States. High energy bills combined with complicated equipment, systems, and building codes to create a need for turnkey energy management solutions. This need is even greater in critical spaces such as operating rooms, laboratories, and compounding pharmacies where there is little room for error.

ETC Group’s healthcare clients rely on us to strengthen their operational efficiency, to improve occupant comfort and safety, while reducing energy costs. The following article details the results and benefits of a turnkey solution implemented in a sensitive healthcare critical area.

 

PROBLEM

Bone marrow transplant (BMT) areas are designed and built for immunosuppressed patients. Each patient room must maintain positive pressure relative to the hallway which, in turn, must be positively pressurized compared to the rest of the facility. The air flows required for pressure requirements can not disturb the thermal comfort of these sensitive occupants.

In this hospital, the BMT recovery wing had become well-known as a challenge to maintain. In 2017, the Medical Center reached out to ETC Group for assistance solving the issues in the BMT wing.

  • Systems and spaces required constant facility attention to maintain required conditions. Without the constant vigilance of the facilities team, there was a potential for air flow irregularities.
  • Supply air temperature and pressure resets as well as outside air economizer sequences were locked out or overridden to avoid disturbing the systems.
  • Flexible ductwork connecting supply registers to VAVs and return grilles to main trunks was too long, resulting in inconsistent air flow and pressure between spaces.
  • Room pressure monitors had fallen out of calibration and were no longer trusted.

SOLUTION

ETC Group executed a turn-key energy efficiency and compliance project and performed the following:

  • Eliminated the excess flexible ductwork
  • Calibrated all pressure monitors
  • Verified all patient room air flows
  • Reconfigured thermostats for optimal patient comfort
  • Replaced all HEPA filters
  • Removed problematic butterfly dampers
  • Replaced faulty supply air VAV controllers
  • Updated sequence and removed lockouts from supply air temperature and pressure resets
  • Updated sequence and removed lockouts from economizers
  • Certified pressurization of all patient rooms individually
  • Certified pressurization for the floor as a whole
  • Quantified annual energy savings
  • Secured applicable utility program rebates

The results are clear: improved patient safety through pressure compliance, higher patient satisfaction by improved thermal comfort, and a project pay back less than 3 years calculated using the energy savings alone. Savings include nearly $55,000 per year in reduced fan power, cooling load, and reheat energy.

Working with ETC Group has delivered tremendous success for our facility. The people we’ve worked with are insanely obsessed and passionate about their work – most importantly they are innovative problem-solvers.”

– Facility Manager-

SCHEDULE. SAVINGS. SUCCESS.

The figure below shows the project schedule overlaid on air handler fan power data before, during, and after project execution. The red line is the supply fan kW and the blue is return fan kW.  Before the project: supply and return fan power averaged about 55 kW and 18 kW, respectively. Fan power decreases in late-April and mid-May as the project is implemented. At the end of implementation: supply and return fan power averages about 29 kW and 4 kW. The 55% reduction in fan power alone results in energy savings of $21,000 per year.

energy-efficiency-engineering-turnkey

Air Handler Fan Power Data

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs)

The figures below show the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) comparisons from the pre-project baseline and post-project operation. The project started in April 2019 and finished on schedule in June 2019. The  BuildingFit KPI tool in the SkySpark analytics platform is used to compare baseline data (April 2018) to retrofit data (April 2020). All target KPIs have improved. The air temperature needs are met using less chilled water due to the decrease in total air flow. Occupant comfort has improved significantly and reheat valve signals dropped by half.

energy-efficiency-engineering-turnkey-solutions

 

Value Delivered

  • Improved patient safety through pressure compliance
  • Increased patient satisfaction through thermal comfort
  • 49% fan power reduction
  • 37% cooling load reduction
  • 46% reheat load reduction
  • Achieved annual energy savings of $54,400 through reduced fan power, cooling load, and reheat energy
    • Exceeded pre-project savings target by ~$7K
  • Attained utility rebate of $55,000
  • Achieved project simple payback of 2.9 years from energy savings