The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) in Ottawa, Ontario, is one of the largest health-care organizations in Canada. Formed through a merger between two academic hospitals and two community hospitals in 1998, it maintains approximately 4 million sq ft of real estate across three campuses: Civic, General, and Riverside.
“During the early days of the merger, our attention was focused on how to bring teams together and deliver care, not on the buildings themselves,” Cameron Love, senior vice president, operations and clinical programs, said. “To dedicate as many resources as possible to our patients, we knew we had to reduce overhead and expenditures within the organization. Better managing our energy consumption was a clear objective.”
Lack of visibility into building systems posed a significant challenge.
“Between the three main campuses, we have buildings that range anywhere from 30 years old to more than 90 years,” Brock Marshall, director of engineering and operations, said. “... With such a patchwork infrastructure, our ability to look across a campus from an automation perspective was virtually nonexistent. Years of deferred maintenance due to tight budgets hampered our ability to manage facilities in an efficient manner.”
For example, if a person in one area of a building complained about the temperature, the facilities staff would have to send someone to change the thermostat setpoints manually. This led to unnecessarily long response times and made addressing building-occupant comfort on a consistent basis difficult. Additionally, without modern building systems, TOH was unable to regulate air in critical areas, such as isolation rooms, precisely.
Guaranteed Energy Savings
In 2002, TOH conducted several internal audits to identify energy-saving and productivity-improvement opportunities.
Honeywell, which had a service and maintenance relationship with TOH, recommended an energy-savings performance contract, a solution that would deliver energy-efficiency upgrades and more operating dollars though a guaranteed, self-funded savings program. This allowed the hospital to reduce energy costs and address some of its deferred-maintenance issues without increasing its budget. The resulting CA$17-million, 15-year performance contract with Honeywell—the largest of its kind in Canada—guaranteed TOH would save more than CA$2.6 million in utility costs annually.
During the summer of 2004, Honeywell and TOH began a year-long process of implementing energy-conservation measures, which included:
• The installation of an Enterprise Buildings Integrator (EBI) automation platform, which covers approximately 20,000 points of control for all three campuses.
• The replacement of several chillers with more energy-efficient, chlorofluorocarbon- (CFC-) free units.
• The retrofit of more than 45,000 light fixtures across all three campuses.
• Lighting upgrades in two parking garages.
• The installation of high-efficiency hot-water and heating boilers.
• The replacement of motors and the addition of variable-frequency drives.
• The implementation of power-factor-correction systems.
• Building-envelope improvements to reduce drafts and prevent energy leakage.
• The installation of water-conserving fixtures.
• The establishment of an ongoing awareness program to educate staff members and the community.
The EBI system allowed the facilities staff to see an integrated view of a campus’s HVAC system and optimize operations depending on variables such as temperature and time of day. And in many cases, it helped the staff identify a problem ahead of building occupants.
On the 1.5-million-sq-ft General campus, tie-in and control via the EBI system allowed TOH to operate new CFC-free chillers more efficiently. With upgraded controls, temperature-related service calls dropped sharply.
Expanding Energy Savings
In 2008, TOH and Honeywell replaced two outdated boilers that required a considerable amount of maintenance with a central heating plant on the Civic campus. The success of the project led TOH and Honeywell to begin a CA$3 million cooling-plant retrofit, which included the replacement of five chillers and three cooling towers in an effort to improve efficiency and refrigerant-quality levels and reduce ozone-depleting-refrigerant emissions.
A Focus on Air Quality
“Before the first phase of replacing our system, building personnel would have trouble obtaining a good idea of just how our air-handling system functioned,” Love said. “Instead of having a centralized unit that would adjust temperature across all sites, for instance, operators would need to adjust them manually and individually.”
In bringing each of its disparate air-handling control systems onto a single platform, TOH gave building operators the power to manipulate air control in a much simpler manner. This allowed TOH to visualize its entire system and adjust the temperature or humidity of certain areas to maintain ideal levels.
In the most recent round of energy improvements, TOH analyzed the amount and type of air needed in each hospital space. This improved the control of air quality and movement. The project, which involved the retrocommissioning of all major air-handling systems, enabled TOH to manipulate systems to ensure appropriate levels of temperature, moisture, etc.
Since the overarching efficiency and conservation program began, TOH has achieved approximately CA$15 million in energy savings and cut carbon-dioxide emissions by more than 55,000 tons, which is the equivalent of removing 8,300 cars from the road. Additionally, the initial lighting retrofit resulted in the recycling of fluorescent tubes and magnetic ballasts totaling 10.8 tons of glass, 271 lb of aluminum, 339 lb of phosphor, and 2.24 lb of mercury.
As a result of the program’s success in reducing energy use, TOH has received several awards:
• The 2012 Canadian College of Health Leaders Energy and Environmental Stewardship Award.
• The 2012 Ontario Hospital Association Green Health Care Award for Water Conservation and Protection.
• The 2009 American Association of Energy Engineers Energy Project of the Year Award.
• The 2005 Ontario Hospital Association Green Health Care Award for Energy Efficiency.
Plans for an Efficient Future
With plans to explore platforms that provide deep visibility into energy-usage operational behavior, TOH will continue to fine-tune its ability to draw down spending. And with building-automation tools that provide granular control of various facility functions in place, striving to construct integrated building systems in new facilities and find additional efficiencies will be a key priority for the hospital going forward.