The focus on energy reduction was at the core of the presentation Rome made to the Australia National Healthcare Week conference. His presentation, “Charting Paths to Sustainability,” provided an overview of the various ways that two projects for which the firm provided mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineering approached energy reduction targets – and the benefits realized by doing so.
“From our perspective, our business is about providing an environment for helping people get well,” Rome said during his presentation. “This starts with a healthy building philosophy and for WSP USA, sustainability is the key to delivering a healing environment for patients and demonstrating it to the community.”
To show how sustainable design benefits have played out in real-world designs, Rome shared an overview of Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, which used sustainability to make a statement to the community; and Phoenix Children’s Hospital, which achieved sustainability and economic viability without certification.
Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas used a number of sustainable control measures to help achieve the owner’s goal of creating a facility that showcased a vision of providing the best health care for children and the best workplace for staff with a small ecological footprint. These measures contributed to two notable achievements for the hospital, including an estimated $1.5 million in energy savings and LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council – the first hospital in the world to achieve this level.
Contributing sustainable systems included individual control capabilities; occupancy sensors and daylight harvesting; carbon dioxide monitoring in high-occupancy areas; low-flow plumbing fixtures resulting in 1.3 million gallons of water savings annually; and an energy measurement and verification system.
In the case of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, goals set at the beginning of the project supported sustainability. The staff believed in a sustainable footprint, but economic realities that impacted the building budget meant that sustainable goals also needed to have an economic payback. The team wrote its own “Phoenix Children’s Hospital Green Guide to Healthcare” in order to save the hospital operational costs over time and support public relations with the community.
The guide outlined several targets, including high-energy efficiency, central plant operational optimization, solar modeling for maximum energy efficiency, water-saving fixtures and sensors, optimized high-efficiency lighting and LED where feasible, and set-up for future implementation of other goals.
As a result of sustainable design efforts, the hospital achieved a number of savings and played a significant role in qualifying for a $4.5 million federal energy grant, as well as a central energy plant that played a major role in $850,000 utility cost savings per year, reduced water usage by 5.8 million gallons, and reduced greenhouse gasses to 20 percent below standard.