Radiant in Commercial

Medical facility goes green with radiant floor heating

Wed, 10/23/2013 - 18:35

Large hospitals and medical centers consume a considerable amount of energy just to run everyday. Hospitals are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and as a result, the operational bills can certainly pile up. 
Hospitals energy consumption
In addition to simply needing to run technology, ventilation systems, heating and cooling and lights, the building also needs to operate a number of highly intensive technologies to ensure the health and well being of everyone who uses the structure. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the 2003 Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey found that large hospitals, those that are greater than 200,000 square feet, account for less than 1 percent of all commercial buildings and 2 percent of floorspace. Yet, large hospitals consume 4.3 percent of the total delivered energy used by the commercial sector that year. 
The source reported that in the 2007 CBECS show that the major fuels that are consumed by hospitals are electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and district heat. Of those energy types, major hospitals consumed about 458 trillion Btu, which is 55 percent of the total delivered energy used by the commercial sector that year.
Major hospitals energy use continues to grow each year, which is why it is crucial that medical facilities begin to invest in more energy-efficient options. 
New biomedical and health sciences building is energy efficient
The new Biomedical and Health Sciences Building at Washington State University's Riverpoint campus is a state-of-the-art structure in Spokane. The educational medical facility is intended to usher in a new wave of constructing hospitals and future health service structures. Inlander reported that the 125,000-square-foot building was the country's largest construction project in 2012. The school, which opened its doors to pharmacy and medical students in January, is expected to demonstrate the power of an energy-efficient science and medical facility that both meets the needs of healthcare professionals and is operationally efficient. 
According to the news source, the building cost about $78.6 billion to build and was built to demonstrate how hospital design must be adaptive and withstand a wide variety of environmental factors. Regardless of whether a hurricane hits and area or a pandemic breaks out, a building like this one is designed to withstand the forces and never let the power go out. 
"We're creating a building that is top of the line to train future health care practitioners in the Pacific Northwest," said Scott McGlocklin, the site's project manager, according to the news source.
Green technologies included in medical building
A medical structure that is built to last and run on less energy than the average hospital requires the strategic use of energy-efficient technologies. Solutions like light emitting diode bulbs, geothermal heating and cooling systems and radiant floor heating can drastically reduce the operating costs associated with a hospital, without negatively impacting performance.
A radiant floor heating system is able to slowly pump warmth into patient rooms, waiting areas and staff lounges so that every remains comfortable at all hours. In addition, because vents, radiators or baseboard units are unnecessary, there is less to clean and less chance that bacteria or germs can find themselves into a heating system. This solves both a maintenance and health problem. The duct work for a ventilation system will of course still be required, but it will now only have to focus on pumping in clean air, instead of heating the structure as well. 
By combining the use of multiple strategic technologies, a design team can drastically reduce the energy use of a hospital.