Echuca Regional Health delivers a range of acute, sub-acute, aged care and primary care services to the local Echuca-Moama community and the broader Campaspe Shire.
In 2009, WSP was engaged to design a Water Absorption Chiller for Echuca Regional Health. In 2011, the project was nominated for the EcoGen Awards for the Most Outstanding Large-Scale Clean Energy Project in Australia and the Asia Pacific. While in the feasibility and schematic design phase, we were further retained to help expand the inpatient accommodation and emergency department.
The priority was to increase the number of medical, surgical, maternity and paediatric inpatient beds, delivery suites, and special care nursery cots. The emergency department had to house a further 25 specialised rooms, including resuscitation, ambulance and paediatric bays and a further expansion to sub-acute beds, including rehabilitation and palliative care beds.
Partnering for Success
Having provided technical advice to Echuca Regional Health for a few years, we understood the challenges at the site. Working with the hospital team, we recommended features that supported its design to reduce carbon emissions, power consumption and operating costs as well as providing a healthier environment to work and heal in.
For example, the new technology compact solar hot water panels with active sun tracking supply high-temperature hot water to a double-effect absorption chiller. The double-effect chiller can also use a natural gas burner to operate the chiller when the hot water generated overnight is insufficient. The new solar-chiller plant minimises the use of electrical chillers to the point where approximately 100 per cent of the annual cooling requirements can be met using solar hot water and natural gas. The savings in carbon emissions is significant over the predicted 20-year life cycle of the plant.
Other features include:
- Two new fire water storage tanks of approximately 168,000 L each. Installed on site and insulated, they can be used for chilled water storage.
- Alternate variable geometry air distribution systems, allowing individual room control of the air conditioning system.
- Solar field and chilled water storage innovations.
We provided designs that allowed for phased construction and handover as the existing hospital still had to continue operating without disruption.
Delivering Sustainable Outcomes
Our mechanical services and engineering design has helped create a new, energy-efficient public hospital for the local community. Echuca Regional Health is now saving on its energy costs and providing a healthier and safer environment for staff, patients and visitors. The redevelopment is also providing a testing ground for new approaches to healthcare design.